Illegal landers sentenced, boat forfeited

Three men who admitted landing in Cayman illegally were sentenced on Wednesday to serve 76 days’ imprisonment. They had been in custody 79 days since their arrest in Breakers on 18 Feb.

The defendants were Celso Mejia Mejia, 36; Lazaro Angel Sharp, 28; and David Anthony Gordon Ellis, 32.

All three are Nicaraguan nationals, defence attorney Lee Halliday-Davis told Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn. They had been living in Costa Rica, where two of the men have family, she said. They accepted that any deportation from Cayman would have to be to Nicaragua.

She asked for a sentence that would allow them to return home as soon as possible.

The men told Cayman authorities that they had rented a boat in Costa Rica to go fishing and both engines had failed.

When they came to court on Tuesday, another Crown counsel had suggested that other charges might be pending against the men, specifically relating to a bulletproof vest and rounds of ammunition. The magistrate agreed to a one-day adjournment and indicated she was not minded to put the matter off again.

On Wednesday, Crown counsel Kerri-Ann Gillies confirmed there were no new charges, only that of illegal landing to which the men had already pleaded guilty.

The magistrate said that, based on the circumstances of this case, the time the men had already spent in custody was adequate punishment for the offence.

Gillies drew the court’s attention to a section of the law that provides for a vessel used in the commission of an offence to be forfeited. The magistrate agreed and noted there are procedures for the lawful owner of the vessel to apply to the courts to get it back.

The boat was previously described as a “panga type” with a 200-horsepower engine and a 10-hp engine.


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