TV reporter tells of ‘terrifying’ assault

Television news reporter Paul Kennedy is more used to breaking the news than making it. 

But the broadcaster found himself on the witness stand in Summary Court on Wednesday recounting the “terrifying” moment a jealous love rival “rained blows” on him as a pleasant first date ended in bloodshed. 

Mr. Kennedy, who needed stitches to his face following the incident, said he thought he had been struck with a bottle by Rodney Francis, whom he described as the “jealous ex-boyfriend” of his date. 

Francis has denied a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm. 

Mr. Kennedy said he first encountered Francis when he picked up the woman from her home in Prospect at around 8 p.m. on March 20. He said Francis, who he later learned had been in a previous relationship with the woman and lived nearby, was angry and was yelling obscenities. 

The reporter and his date then went out for drinks and sushi. When they returned, said Mr. Kennedy, Francis confronted them again, attempting to grab the woman as she stepped out of the car. 

Mr. Kennedy said he stepped between them to protect the woman, when Francis assaulted him. 

He said one of the blows “cracked” him hard and he put his hands to his face and realized he was covered in blood. 

“I thought I had been bottled … it was terrifying and just so unnecessary,” he said. 

Under cross-examination from Francis’s attorney Richard Barton, Mr. Kennedy denied that it was he who had struck the first blow.  

He said he did not punch Francis back but held up his hands in front of his face to protect himself. He accepted that he may have poked or scratched Francis’s eye as he attempted to block the blows. 

There were some lighthearted moments as Mr. Kennedy sparred verbally with the defense attorney. 

At one stage, Mr. Barton suggested that the television news reporter had grabbed Francis and said, “Do you know who I am? I’m Paul Kennedy.” 

Mr. Kennedy replied, “I’m not that important. I don’t have my own radio show” – a reference to Mr. Barton’s show on Radio Cayman. 

On an earlier occasion, the lawyer suggested to Mr. Kennedy that the five or six Heinekens he had drunk that evening might have had an influence on him, to which he replied, “Five Heinekens? That’s not a lot, I’m English.” 

The trial is scheduled to continue on Oct. 22. 

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Television reporter Paul Kennedy was in court on Wednesday to give evidence in an assault trial.
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