(CMR) The Grand Court has thrown out a trial against Dr. Dalton Errald Watler Lyon (Dalton Watler), former Deputy Chief Officer for Tourism, who was arrested last year by the Financial Crimes Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
Dalton Watler was accused of possessing criminal property concerning US$30,000 found in his home in George Town. The trial for the former head of the Department of Sports started on 23 August.
On Friday, 26 August, Watler's attorney Oliver Smith, QC, moved a motion to dismiss the charge, arguing that the prosecution had failed to provide enough evidence and had not established any criminal activity involving the money found and Watler.
Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop ruled the circumstantial evidence before the court did not meet the legal standard.
“This court is of the view that the evidential threshold, to which the prosecution must prove this defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, has not been met,” said Justice McDonald-Bishop.
After his arrest, Watler said he acquired the money over four years by withdrawing cash from his personal savings account and purchasing US currency from Cayman National Bank. A search of 17 months of his banking history showed only one transaction. However, Watler had indicated he did the transaction over a four-year period; this means the search did not cover the entire period.
Justice McDonald-Bishop said the prosecution failed to prove that Watler or the money was linked to criminal activities. She directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict, and Watler was cleared of the charge and released.
“In this case, the prosecution is not using lifestyle or lack of means to ground the charge; it is not suggested that the defendant could not have saved the money for the period that he states,” the judge said.