Trial starts for Brac Cadet Corps officer

Fellow officer received broken leg

Trial began for Monday for Lawrence Roger Nelson, who is accused of causing grievous bodily harm to a fellow officer in the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps.

The charge was laid after Staff Sergeant Michael Anthony Reid was injured on Cayman Brac during a summer camp for cadets in July 2008.

Mr. Reid told Magistrate Grace Donalds both bones in his lower left leg were broken during the incident. He said his contract with the cadet corps ended 31 August, 2008, but the healing process for his leg continued until 13 October, 2008.

By way of background, he said he started with the Cayman Cadet Corps in September 2006. As staff sergeant and instructor, he was one of the persons in charge of training cadets; he was also in charge of stores and equipment.

He said he knew Lawrence Nelson for the better part of two years. Nelson held the rank of Adult Under-Officer, which meant he was in training for an officer position.

He acknowledged that they had disagreements every now and then, but they resolved matters either by coming to a common ground or referring the problem to a senior rank.

When cadets went to Cayman Brac for training, they were based at the high school, Mr. Reid narrated. On 14 July, he said, Nelson was assigned as duty officer, which meant he was responsible for the total running of the camp that day. Duties included ensuring the canteen was tidied after each meal.

Mr. Reid told the court he received a call from someone in the kitchen saying it was time for the kitchen to be tidied. He said he phoned Nelson, who responded that he couldn’t deal with that right now because he had to take some kids to the Bluff to play football.

From that response, Mr. Reid said, he knew Nelson was not going to comply, so he went to Captain Ricardo Henry, who was senior to him and Nelson. In the presence of both of them, Captain Henry said Nelson should get some kids and have the kitchen sorted out and then proceed to do what he was about to do, taking kids to the Bluff.

Nelson’s reaction was negative, Mr. Reid related. ‘He went into a slight rage. He actually responded by saying, ‘Man, I’m going to be late!”

Mr. Reid said he left and went to his own office. ‘I went inside and Nelson came in next to me.’

He said their shoulders touched as they both reached for some keys. His account of what happened next is not being reported at this time because two persons who were present have not yet given their evidence.

Cross-examined by Defence Attorney John Furniss, Mr. Reid agreed that Nelson had been successful in recruiting cadets in Cayman Brac, having built up the corps there from a small number to over 100 youngsters.

He denied giving Nelson problems, noting he travelled from Grand Cayman to the Brac two days a week. ‘I did not make life difficult (for Nelson). I just followed the procedures laid out by the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps.’

Mr. Reid’s evidence was taken this week because he was scheduled to leave the island. Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn asked for a date for the trial to continue and 26 November was agreed on.