Missing officer in court

After a warrant was ordered for the arrest of a police officer two weeks ago Monday, the warrant was discharged on Tuesday because the officer had been in another court.

Magistrate Nova Hall issued the warrant on 18 August after noting that she had set the trial date as a priority, the officer had received a summons and he had not responded to phone calls from a fellow officer that morning (Caymanian Compass, 20 August).

Defence Attorney Samuel Jackson argued that the charges against his client should be dismissed. Crown Counsel Tanya Lobban said it would be premature to dismiss charges because there could be a good explanation for the officer’s absence.

The explanation came the next day in Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale’s court.

The charges for trial were speeding, failure to produce a driver’s licence, failure to comply with an order given by a police officer and disorderly conduct. The officer understood they would be tried in Traffic Court, where the Chief Magistrate presides on Mondays.

He was not aware the Legal Department was prosecuting the matter, which took it into the regular Summary Court; he spent the whole of Monday morning in Traffic Court where a police inspector or sergeant conducts the prosecutions.

The matter was listed again on 26 August. On that date, the officer attended again and explained he was scheduled to be off island on 6 October, the date to which the case had been adjourned.

The Chief Magistrate said the case would be mentioned on 6 October for a new trial date to be set.

A check of court sheets for 18 August shows that the defendant’s name and charges were not on any of the regular lists for that day. Instead, they appeared on a recently adopted separate list that contains trials for the whole week.

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