A man who was accused last year of breaking into a home, tying up an underage girl and raping her has filed a lawsuit against the Cayman Islands government after police dropped the case against him.
The writ of summons, filed on behalf of Chris Stephen Conolly on 16 May, alleges that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service wrongfully arrested Mr. Conolly on 29 March, 2012, when “at the time of the arrest, the police had obtained evidence which demonstrated [the alleged victim, an 8-year-old girl]’s account to be false”.
The writ seeks damages following Mr. Conolly’s imprisonment for five days and being held on court bail until early September 2012 in connection with the investigation.
The writ states that the 8-year-old, whose name the Caymanian Compass is not publishing because she is a juvenile, reported a burglary, indecent assault and threatening violence on 24 March, 2012, against Mr. Conolly. Her complaint alleged that a man had broken into her house by damaging the door with a machete, then tied her up and indecently assaulted her.
Court records filed by Mr. Conolly’s attorneys at Samson and McGrath state the account given to police was inconsistent and that the alleged victim’s mother told officers the door had been broken prior to the incident. Also, the mother’s account of the rape was entirely different, the writ claimed.
The lawsuit states that two medical examinations given to the alleged victim at Cayman Islands Hospital showed that vaginal penetration had not occurred and, upon the second examination, that “no trauma had occurred”.
“Notwithstanding this, [Mr. Conolly] was arrested on 29 March, 2012 … and taken to George Town Police Station,” the writ states. “Acting on the instructions of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, [the police officer investigating the case] maliciously and without reasonable and probable cause, charged [Mr. Conolly] with burglary … and threatening violence,” the lawsuit claims.
Mr. Conolly was “wrongly imprisoned” between 29 March, 2012, and 3 April, 2012, when he was granted bail by a magistrate, subject to curfew conditions, which included “exclusion from East End”.
“[Mr. Conolly] was unable to continue his gardening business, which is based in East End, and lost considerable custom,” the writ states.
During a forensic interview conducted on 23 August, 2012, the alleged victim admitted she lied in her initial complaint to police, according to the lawsuit.
A week prior to that, the lawsuit claims Mr. Conolly was arrested, this time at a car park near the West Bay four-way stop.
“[Mr. Conolly] was standing near his car in the car park, but was not in it,” the writ recalls. “[He] was approached by two police officers and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. When the [Mr. Conolly] tried to enquire why the police suspected this, given that he was not in his car and had not been driving, [he] was wrongly assaulted and beaten by being threatened with pepper spray and roughly handled, causing his property, including a Rolex watch, to fall to the floor.”
He was again taken to the George Town Police Station where the writ claims he was denied a phone call to his wife, or his attorney, the lawsuit claims. “At no stage was [Mr. Conolly] breathalysed, despite the reasons given for his arrest”. He was detained for about three or four hours after that arrest.
In claiming “malicious prosecution”, the lawsuit states “it was based upon evidence that had already been demonstrated to be false by the prosecution’s own witness and the defendant [referring to the attorney general] failed to act expeditiously in conducting further forensic interviews [with the alleged victim] to explore her false account”.
“The defendant acted without reasonable or probable cause for the prosecution,” the writ states.
A specific amount in damages was not claimed in the lawsuit, but it does seek “aggravated damages” for alleged false imprisonment and malicious prosecution claims.