September 25, 2020

Over 10,000 persons in the Cayman Islands have a criminal record!

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Peter Polack BrochureBy Peter Polack

Cayman Islands Population Conviction Rate Reduction Plan

There are nearly 20% of persons living in the Cayman Islands with a criminal conviction or over 10,000 individuals. (FOI 82823).

In 2005 there were 30 pending indictments at the end of 2005 and 84 pending at the end of 2008. There are now 118 pending with 23 from 2012.

There were 4341 Summary Court cases in 2004 and 9678 in 2008.

Prior to further commitment of scarce resources to law enforcement and the judicial system there are alternatives immediately available.

1. Decriminalization – of minor traffic and criminal offences. Payment of administrative fines have been a part of Customs enforcement for many years, often significant amounts. Although a non-court appearance fine system exists for traffic offences it still creates a criminal record.

This would:
– reduce population conviction rate exponential annual increase
– reduce court proceedings
– reduce judicial and law enforcement primary and secondary costs ie investigations, multiple court appearances etc.

2. Expunge Records- following on from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Law expunge certain criminal records absolutely for minor offences. Jamaica passed a bill in October 2014 to expunge minor offences. A knock on effect would be an immediate increase in employable Caymanians with a clean criminal record.

3. Case Review-pending case review by three person panel(s) of retired judge, prosecutor and defense attorney on referral by court, prosecution or defence starting with Summary Court offences to reduce case load:

– border line conviction cases
– minor cases
– cases with unwilling complainants
– cases where complainant/accused agree conflict resolution.

4. Serious Crime Conviction Review Panel- to review cases on request to consider expunge of records for offences over 10 years old where no other/successive conviction of any kind eg police officer with prior conviction in employment with no further breach after dated conviction. Panel could consider:

– Single offence convictions
– Dated convictions
– Offences committed age 18-25 without further offence after expiration period.
– Non-violent offenders

Notes
http://www.gov.ky/portal/page?_pageid=1142,3736950&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
https://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/chief-justices-address-to-the-opening-of-the-grand-court-on-the-15th-january-2014/
http://jis.gov.jm/house-passes-bill-expunge-records-minor-offences/

Related story:

From: RCIPS
To: Mr. Polack
Friday January 16 2015

Dear Mr. Polack,

Thank you for your application dated 5th August 2014, which was received by us on the same day. You are requesting disclosure of the following information:

I. Number of persons in the Cayman Islands with a criminal conviction. 10,067
2. Number of persons in the Cayman Islands with a traffic conviction if not considered a criminal conviction. The RCIPS Criminal Records Office (CRO) does not collate offences/crimes in the format you are requesting. A document attachment with each person’s conviction is attached in the database to each person’s nominal. The system does not allow us to do an automated search of those attachments. Therefore, we would have to search 10,067 attachments individually, in order to answer your question correctly. This would divert CRO’s resources who are custodian of the records. The Office is currently under strength by 7 staff.
3. Number of persons in the Cayman Islands with a criminal conviction for murder, manslaughter, firearm, robbery and grievous bodily harm. Same as above at 2
4. Number of persons in the Cayman Islands with a criminal conviction excluding murder, manslaughter, firearm, robbery and grievous bodily harm. Same as above at 2
5. Number of persons convicted of drug offences. Same as above at 2
6. Number of RCIPS officers with a criminal conviction. 1
7. Number of RCIPS officers with a traffic conviction. Same as above at 2

Compliance to questions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7, would unreasonably divert our resources. Only authorized police staff has access to RCIPS criminal records.

Pursuant to Section 9 -a public authority is not required to comply with a request where ­ (c) compliance with the request would unreasonably divert its resources

Under Section 33 (l) of the FOI Law, you may ask for an Internal Review of a response to your request:
P.O. Box 909 I Grand Cayman KY1- 1103I CAYMAN ISLANDS I Phone 1345) 244 2900 Fax (345} 949 2418 I web ww.v.rcips.ky

(a) refusing to grant access;
(b) granting partial access to the record(s) specified in your application;
(C) deferring the grant of access to the document;
(d) refusal to amend or annotate an official document containing personal information; or
(e) charging a fee for action taken or as to the amount of the fee charged;
where the decision was taken by a person other than the responsible Minister, Chief Officer or Principal 0fficer of the public authority.

You have 30 days from the date of receipt of this Notice to request an Internal Review by writing to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (“RCIPS”), Commissioner of Police, Mr. David Baines and including the following:

(a) your name, address and telephone number;
(b) a copy of your Application and/or the Reference Number assigned to your Application;
(c) a copy of this letter; and
(d) if so inclined, the basis on which you are requesting a Review of the decision indicated.

If upon Internal Review, the decision is still not favourable to you, you have the right under section 42 of the FOI Law to appeal to the Information Commissioner within 30 days of:

(a) the date of notification of the decision taken at Internal Review;
(b) a decision taken by a responsible Minister, Chief Officer or Principal Officer of the public authority; or
(C) the date on which you should have been notified of the decision(s) referred to above but of which you received no notification.
END
Contact details for RCIPS Commissioner and Acting Information Commissioner also provided.

EDITOR: Whilst I am not commenting here on whether the reasons the RCIPS have given for not providing the information is reasonable or not, I find it incomprehensible why it has taken nearly six months to come up with this response.

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