Women avoid jail over cop assaults

Two women escaped jail sentences in the Summary Court Thursday in separate cases relating to assaults on police.

In the first case, Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale said she would take an ‘extraordinary route’ and not record convictions against a 60-year-old woman because it would prevent her from being able to travel to Florida for annual medical check-ups she requires following brain surgery.

The woman had pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting police, assault causing actual bodily harm, common assault and damage to property following a scuffle with a police officer in the car-park of the Cayman Islands Hospital on 9 September 2007.

The woman had attended the hospital after her son was admitted after being stabbed.

An altercation had broken out between the woman and another party and a police officer intervened.

During the scuffle, the woman inflicted cuts and abrasions to the officer’s chest and neck, also breaking a chain he was wearing.

Defence Attorney Edward Renvoize told the court his client had not realised the man was a police officer, adding his client had also received injuries in the scuffle.

He said the woman had never been in trouble with the law before and assured the judge she would never see the woman before her again.

‘This has been a very harrowing experience for her,’ Mr. Renvoize said. ‘I ask you to view this as a blight in an otherwise unblemished life.’

The magistrate noted that assaults on police are taken very seriously by the court.

‘Officers have a duty to protect the community and the court has a duty to protect them,’ she said.

But she noted the woman had acted impulsively while overwrought with emotion over her injured son, and said she accepted the woman’s remorse.

While not imposing convictions, the magistrate ordered the woman to pay legal costs of $750.

Cop peppered

In a second case, Irvalyn Natasha Bush received 18 month probation on charges of assaulting police, aiding and abetting and obstructing police.

The assault charge arose from an incident in May 2007, when police had attempted to arrest Bush’s boyfriend following a routine stop of the car he was driving and that Bush was travelling in.

Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn said the boyfriend repeatedly tried to flee the scene, causing one officer to produce pepper spray in an effort to subdue him.

As the officer produced the pepper spray, Bush sprung to her boyfriend’s defence, grabbing and pulling at the officer’s shoulder.

This action caused the officer to spray the pepper spray into his own eyes, allowing the boyfriend to flee the scene and evade arrest.

‘If you see the size of [Bush], you will see it was an uneven matchup,’ said Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey of his diminutive client.

He noted Bush has two children to look after and also holds down a job – points the judge considered in ordering the period of probation.

‘It’s not that the offence doesn’t warrant a custodial sentence,’ Ms Ramsay-Hale said, ‘it’s that your personal circumstances don’t allow for it.’

The magistrate also asked that Bush speak with her probation officer about useful courses the Women’s Resource Centre could offer her.

Bush was also ordered to pay $205 in legal costs on charges of possession and consumption of ganja. Those charges related to a June 2005 incident where police found .74 grams of ganja in the defendant’s handbag. Bush had pleaded guilty on both counts.

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