A new purpose-built prison van, capable of transporting dangerous criminals, is expected to arrive in Cayman in a matter of months.
The details came to light days into the criminal trial of Category A prisoner Elmer Wright, who, along with other men, is accused of holding a husband and wife at gunpoint during a home invasion.
On Thursday, 24 Oct., Wright’s attorney, Keith Myers, questioned the need for his client to be brought to court in chains and shackles.
“You would think Mr. Wright was the biggest murderer or robber in Cayman,” said Myers. “He was dragged to court shackled like a dog, with armed police everywhere. There are police in the court right now, two guarding the exists and another watching through the glass in the door.”
Acting Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran represents the Crown in the case. Moran told Justice Roger Chapple he questioned the Commissioner of Police and the Director of Prison Services about the need for the extra security measures.
“I am satisfied that the level of additional security that was taken by the police and the prison services is justified,” said Moran. “The current vehicle does not have all the features that would be needed when transporting a Category A prisoner, such as Mr. Wright. A new van capable of transporting such a prisoner has already been ordered and should be on island by the end of this year or early next year.”
Category A prisoners are defined as: “Those whose escape would be highly dangerous to the public or national security.”
The courthouse was on lockdown Thursday and Friday. Armed police escorted prison vans containing Wright and a Crown witness, while the RCIPS’s Air Support Unit watched from above.
Moran said once the Crown witness was no longer needed, a further risk assessment would be conducted.
“The Commissioner of Police has notified the DPP of the strain that has been placed on the police to transport two prisoners, and a further risk assessment will be made,” said Moran.
The cost of the new van was not disclosed.