APPEAL COURT CUTS MACK/RAMGEET SENTENCE BY HALF
The American teenager Skylar Mack has had her prison sentence for breaching Cayman’s strict COVID-19 quarantine protocols cut by half on appeal.
An appeal court hearing today, just a week after she was sentenced to four months in prison, reduced the sentence to two months.
This followed a previous appeal in the case brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions who successfully argued that the original penalty of 40-hours community service and a fine of CI$2,600 was too lenient.
That appeal resulted in her and Vanjae Ramgeet, named as her boyfriend - and who was found guilty of aiding and abetting - being both sentenced to individual four-month custodial sentences.
While the original sentence was appealed by the DPP on the grounds that it was too lenient, there has been a campaign led by the main appellant Mack’s family in the United States, that the four-month prison term was too harsh.
There is wide sentiment in Cayman in favour of a tougher sentence. The maximum sentence currently is CI$10,000 and two years in prison.
The previous sentence, before the change in the law, was a maximum of six months behind bars and a fine of CI$1,000.
The case which has been very much in the public eye in Cayman has attracted considerable US and international media attention driven by the campaign of her family in America, led by her grandmother.
On Monday, just one day before Tuesday’s Appeal Court hearing, Skylar Mack’s family appealed to US President Donald Trump to intervene.
While there has been no reported reaction from President Trump, his son Eric Trump tweeted his support calling the matter “infuriating” and questioning the sentence.
"This is infuriating,” he wrote. “Skylar is an 18 year old girl who left her hotel to watch her boyfriend compete in a jet ski competition… 4 months in jail?!"
He ended the tweet with the hashtag "FreeSkylar."
Skylar Mack and Vanjae Ramjeet were in court on Tuesday during the appeal.
Publication of the judgement is pending.
Skylar Mack, a student from Georgia, arrived in Cayman on November 27th and went into self-isolation for 14 days following the standard protocols.
During that time she was found to have removed the geo-fencing bracelet persons in quarantine are required to wear and left her residence to watch Ramgeet compete in a jet ski contest.
Both mingled with the crowd when Mack should have been in quarantine in breach of the regulations.
Consequently, they were arrested and confined to a government-managed quarantine facility.