Former government minister Frank McField’s Summary Court trial continued Tuesday, with a new Crown witness repeating allegations that McField abused police, resisted arrest, kicked one officer and spat on another.
Inspector Adrian Barnett, who was the officer in charge of an investigation into a fatal road crash that occurred in the early hours of 15 September, 2006, said he was twice called away from the accident scene to attend to a crowd that was growing impatient and abusive at a roadblock west of the accident.
McField’s demeanor had initially been reasonable, but when he returned to the roadblock the second time, the situation had grown more agitated, he said. Mr. Barnett saw PC Douglas Melville and his partner, Cornelius Van Zyn, talking to McField and heard McField say to them ‘[expletive] you. [expletive] you [expletive]’.
‘After I heard that, I instructed my officers to place him under arrest,’ Mr. Barnett said. The officers went to arrest McField but a scuffle broke out. McField was saying to the officers, ‘I will kill you [expletive],’ he told the court.
On cross examination, Mr. Barnett said had not heard Mr. Melville give any warning to the crowd that the next person to curse would be arrested for disorderly conduct (as other Crown witnesses have testified).
McField’s attorney, Clyde Allen, put it to Mr. Barnett that McField had been arrested after saying something to the effect of ‘why the [expletive] can’t you open a path on the side of the road.’ Mr. Barnett rejected this. He said use of the ‘f-word’ would not necessarily be cause for arrest, but added, ‘Unless it was directed at my officers.’
Tuesday’s next witness was Hose Angel Kirchman Jr., a fund administrator that had seen McField at the First Level nightclub earlier in the evening and later at the roadblock. At the club, McField appeared to be intoxicated, was stumbling and staggering, and seemed to be having a good time, he told the court.
At the accident scene, there were two men that were particularly aggressive toward the officers manning the roadblock, he said. One was (and remains) a radio DJ in Cayman, the other was a ‘Rasta’ looking man. When McField arrived, the two walked behind him towards the officers and began egging McField on. That was when things escalated, Mr. Kirchman said.
He recalled one of the officers giving a warning to the effect of ‘the next person that curses will be arrested for disorderly conduct.’ McField replied with something to the effect of ‘you racist [expletive],’ he said. A struggle then broke out as the officers tried to arrest McField. Once arrested, McField tried to kick one officer and spat in another’s face, Mr. Kirchman said. When asked which officer was spat on, Mr. Kirchman said he thought it was PC Melville. PC Van Zyn and other Crown witnesses have said Mr. Van Zyn was the one spat on
Next to testify was Ian Yearwood, senior accident commander on the scene that night. He told the court he had helped the officers arrest McField after he saw the two officers wrestling on the ground with McField sometimes after 3.55am.
They were trying to hold the defendant down and he was saying ‘if I get up from here you are both dead; you [expletive] are dead,’ Mr. Yearwood explained.
After the officers got McField to his feet, Mr. Yearwood tried to calm him down, but it had no effect. He said McField then raised his right leg and kicked Mr. Melville just below his right knee, saying ‘you racist [expletive], you’re dead.’ McField then turned his face towards Mr. Van Zyn and Mr. Yearwood saw saliva appear on Van Zyn’s face. McField called him a white racist pig, before declaring he would have both men ‘off the island’, he said.
On cross examination, Mr. Allen asked whether Mr. Yearwood had noticed PC Melville with his knee across McField’s shoulder blade as he tried to affect the arrest (as Mr. Melville had claimed). Mr. Yearwood said he did not recall seeing this. Mr. Allen also asked if Mr. Yearwood recalled seeing gravel or blood on McField’s face, or bruising under his right eye following the arrest. Mr. Yearwood said he did not.
The day’s final witness was Monique McLaughlin. She saw McField at the Next Level nightclub – where she was working on the door – and later at the roadblock.
At the roadblock, the Radio DJ and the Rasta were cursing at the police, she said.
At some point, she saw a black Mercedes, driven by a young lady, overtaking the other stationary cars with its hazard lights on. McField got out of the car and approached officers at the roadblock, she said.
He was telling people on the scene that if he got re-elected to the Legislative Assembly, he was going to send the police officers back to England because they were obstructing traffic, Ms McLaughlin said.
She told the court McField went back to the car and his young female companion brought it closer.
McField, the Radio DJ and the Rasta returned to the roadblock and, soon after, Ms McLaughlin heard the officers warn that if anyone else cursed, everyone would be arrested. She didn’t know what was said at that point between McField and the officers, but she next heard them telling McField to put his hands behind his back.
Ms McLaughlin explained a struggle then broke out and the Radio DJ and the Rasta were yelling for people to take pictures of police brutality. After the officers got handcuffs on McField, Ms McLaughlin saw the defendant spit on one officer, but she didn’t think he meant it, pointing out he had had a lot to drink.
On cross examination, Ms McLaughlin said she did not recall McField kicking either officer.
Meanwhile, the radio DJ was threatening the officers that they would be hearing more about what had happened on the DJ’s radio show, Ms McLaughlin said.
The trial has been set down for four days in front of Magistrate Grace Donalds.
Further charges of disorderly conduct and threatening violence against McField, stemming from an incident on the Harquail Bypass on 9 November, 2006, are to be heard at a later date.