Dr. Frank’s trial continues

Magistrate Nova Hall heard submissions on Wednesday why Mr. Frank McField should not have to answer charges of threatening violence and disorderly conduct.

The magistrate said she would give her ruling on Wednesday.

Mr. McField, whose degree is in sociology, is a former government minister, responsible for Community Services 2001-05.

Charges against him arose from an incident along the Esterley Tibbetts Highway on 9 November, 2006, after the car he was a passenger in had been stopped for speeding. Because there was a smell of alcohol, the driver was given a roadside breath test, which showed he was under the limit.

The threatening violence charge is based on his alleged comment ‘I wish I had a machine gun to take out all of you’ and a remark he reportedly made later at the police station. That one was to the effect that he should get a named prisoner out of jail ‘to deal with a few of you people’.

The disorderly conduct charge refers to language allegedly used, including ‘you f…ing police’ and ‘you old dirty f…ing Cayman Bracker’. The arresting officer, to whom this second remark was allegedly made, told the court she was not from Cayman Brac.

Her evidence came in July, when the trial began. The trial was then adjourned until 15 October because of attorneys’ conflicting commitments.

On Wednesday, the special constable who was with the police officer gave his account. Crown Counsel Nicola Moore then closed the case for the Prosecution, Defence Attorney Clyde Allen made his submissions and Ms Moore replied.

The special constable described Mr. McField’s behaviour and demeanour, saying he looked ‘just really intoxicated… rambling, repeating himself… more drunk than angry’.

After the machine gun remark, the constable asked him to go back into the vehicle, which he did. He was cooperating at the time. But during the driver’s breath test, he emerged again and made scornful remarks. He called the female officer ‘a dirty Kurt Tibbetts Cayman Bracker’. (Mr. Tibbetts, leader of Government Business, is from Cayman Brac.)

The special constable said the police officer warned Mr. McField about his conduct, saying he was being disorderly and could be arrested. The driver and he convinced Mr. McField to go back to the car.

Mr. McField said he felt he was being targeted by the police department, the witness said.

After this, the special constable heard a motorcycle approaching at what seemed to be a high rate of speed. As he approached where the police car was parked with its lights flashing, the rider downshifted rapidly and the special constable waved him to the side of the road. He attempted to warn the rider because he could not give him a ticket, since the radar had not been reset from the car driver’s speed.

He then heard Mr. McField say the officers were not being honourable to him because they were ticketing him but not the motorcyclist. He made other scornful remarks. The police officer said she had had enough; she cautioned Mr. McField and placed him under arrest for disorderly conduct and threatening violence.

Cross-examined by Mr. Allen, the special constable said Mr. McField had behaved properly toward him.

Asked if he felt threatened by the machine gun remark, the witness replied ‘To be honest, I didn’t know how to take it.’

Asked what he thought about the remark pertaining to getting an inmate out of prison, the witness said ‘I thought it was an empty threat.’ Asked if thought that was possible, he said ‘I don’t know what he’s capable of. I took it to be someone intoxicated and angry with the police.’

He agreed that Mr. McField seemed frustrated, and then sarcastic when he was being booked at the station.

After this witness, Ms Moore closed the case for the Crown and Mr. Allen made his submission of no case to answer.

He read the legal definition of threatening violence: Whoever with intent to intimidate or annoy any person, threatens to break or injure a dwelling house; or with intent to alarm any person, discharges loaded firearms or commits any other breach of the peace, is guilty of an offence.

In this case, Mr. Allen said, there was no dwelling house or firearm involved. There was no breach of the peace, either, because there was no act done or threatened to be done which actually harmed a person or property or was likely to cause such harm or which put someone in fear of harm.

He recalled asking the woman police officer if she had been scared or put in fear. ‘She said no she wasn’t – in fact, she smiled,’ Mr. Allen said. The special constable had said Mr. McField was pleasant to him.

Legally, there could be an arrest when a breach of the peace is reasonably apprehended, but in this case there was no evidence of imminent danger of a breach, Mr. Allen submitted. Mere annoyance or insults or obscene language are not generally sufficient.

The disorderly conduct charge was based on words allegedly said. The law makes it an offence to use language that is ‘profane, indecent or obscene’ or threatening language that tends to provoke a breach of the peace.

Mr. Allen said Mr. McField would deny using the ‘f’ word. But even if it had been used, it would not be disorderly if no one was offended.