October 3, 2022

Cayman Judge ‘suspicious’ but accused acquitted

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courthouseGrand Court Justice Malcolm Swift acquitted Patrick Elbert McField of handling stolen goods even though he said he had “considerable suspicion that McField had bought the [stolen goods – in this case a bike] knowing it was stolen”. However he said his suspicion was not enough.

The reason for the judge’s decision was because the “inadequate investigation of the case” left him in “a state of uncertainty” and ““Any failings of the police should not be held against the defendant.”

McField was charged with dishonestly receiving a Suzuki motorcycle knowing or believing it to be stolen after being questioned about it on Aug 7th 2012.  After the police checked the bike’s vehicle identification number with the Vehicle Licencing Department it was found it had been reported as being stolen on June 9 2012. McField said he had bought it from some guys in West Bay and had paid $2,500 for it. He said he was waiting for the paperwork for the Suzuki so he could transfer ownership and he had a receipt for the payment of the bike but he didn’t know where it was. He subsequently produced a copy of the receipt listing a name and address of a person living in Florida, USA. The name was not the owner of the bike.

The judge said when McField told the police he had a receipt officers should have accompanied him to his address so he could look for it in their presence and thus avoid any suspicion that a receipt produced later was a forgery. No request had been given to McField to produce the original receipt so that its authenticity could be checked and no effort was made to check to see if the name and address of the person in Florida was genuine. A check had been done to see if the name on the receipt had a Cayman Islands driving licence or if the Cayman Immigration Department had a record of such a person. All proved negative.

McField had chosen to be tried by judge alone.

Justice Swift said when investigating offenses like this police officers should be told what they ought to be looking for.

PHOTO: www.cireba.com


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