Warrant issued in indecent assault case

Justice Charles Quin issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of Shawn Wayne Mourao, who failed to attend court on three charges of indecent assault.

Mourao, a South African national, is accused of three specific acts against a female cruise ship passenger in George Town on July 27, 2012. Mourao worked in Cayman as the captain of a tour boat.

He first appeared in court in January, when he elected to be tried in Grand Court. He pleaded not guilty in February and his trial was to have started on Monday.

Crown counsel Tricia Hutchinson told the court that Mourao seemed to have taken himself out of the jurisdiction without the court’s permission. All checks for him had failed, so her application was to have a warrant issued. She noted that the investigating officer “has made preliminary checks with Interpol and will be following through once the court’s warrant is issued.”

Defense attorney Lucy Organ said she would not ask to come off record, since Mourao might need representation if he turned up.

Last Thursday, when the matter was mentioned in open court, Ms Organ said the last time she had taken instructions from her client was in March. She said she did not have full instructions and noted that Mourao had not yet chosen mode of trial. If he did not attend and the trial proceeded in his absence, the assumption was that it would be a jury trial.

Her position, she said, was that she could not represent Mourao on Monday because of lack of instructions and she did not see that position changing.

Ms Hutchinson said the crown had been prepared to proceed in the defendant’s absence if he had representation, but not if he were not represented.

She said one reason for the unscheduled court mention was her concern for witnesses, who would have needed to make appropriate arrangements to attend. Ms Hutchinson wanted to be able to contact them and let them know.

Mourao, 44, had been residing in West Bay.

Elijah Stiers, the Florida-based attorney representing the woman in a lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court, said he was unaware of Mourao’s whereabouts, but that the tour boat captain had not filed a response to the lawsuit by the deadline set in mid-September. The woman who was the cruise ship passenger sued Mourao and his company earlier this year, seeking damages in the matter.

Mr. Stiers said attempts to contact the Miami-based offices of the tour company Mourao works for – Cayman Style Ocean Adventures Inc., – have been unsuccessful.

If no response is received, Mr. Stiers said, his office will seek summary judgment against the company in the U.S. The lawsuit seeks at least US$2 million in damages from Cayman Style Ocean Adventures and Mourao.