Accused police officer bailed

A police constable accused of official corruption was granted bail on Thursday in the sum of $20,000 with a surety.

Keith Nathaniel Guthrie, 37, had appeared before Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale last Wednesday afternoon from custody.

The magistrate adjourned the matter because Guthrie’s attorney was not available.

She told the defendant she knew he wanted bail, but the lawyer would know what information and arguments to put before the court in application.

Crown Counsel Trevor Ward had objected to bail on the basis of the seriousness of the charge, the consequences of a conviction and the fact that Guthrie is not Caymanian. There was nothing to keep the defendant here, Mr. Ward said.

The next day, however, Defence Attorney Clyde Allen told the court that Guthrie was not a flight risk. He wished to stay and defend his reputation and would be entering pleas of not guilty.

The attorney revealed that he had represented Guthrie last year when he was being investigated for allegedly being involved in the numbers racket. He seriously resisted the allegations and succeeded. He had left the island and returned to clear his name. The matter was dropped.

Guthrie has been in Cayman for eight years and on the police force for four years, Mr. Allen continued. He had just been awarded a two-year contract received and received a letter telling him to come in and sign it when this happened, Mr. Allen said.

The defendant is married with three children. Although his wife and children are not here, Guthrie supported them through his income, according to the attorney.

The magistrate said she did consider him a flight risk, given the ease with which people can leave the island. But that did not mean he could not be offered bail with certain conditions.

Mr. Allen said a person of some standing in the community was willing to act as surety. The defendant knew that if he did flee, he could be brought back, he added.

In addition to the surety, Guthrie is required to report to the police station every Friday and Monday.

No details of the allegations against Guthrie were referred to in court.

The first charge reads that the defendant, on 3 April 2006, being employed in the public service as a constable of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, and being charged with the performance of the duties of constable by virtue of such employment, corruptly received for himself or obtained the sum of CI$1,500 for himself or any other person on account of or for forbearing to prosecute a named person for traffic offences, which prosecution was to be initiated by him in the discharge of the duties of his office.

The second charge is similarly worded and refers to the sum of CI$500, allegedly received on 8 April.

The matter was scheduled for mention again on 27 April.

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