Bail granted pending appeal of driving death conviction

Dorlisa Piercy faces five-year sentence

Dorlisa Piercy, who was found guilty earlier this year of causing by dangerous driving, was granted bail Wednesday pending appeal of her conviction and sentence. 

After trial by judge alone, Piercy was convicted of causing the death of Karen Edwards in a road crash that occurred in East End on August 14, 2011. She has maintained she was not the driver of the car. 

Justice Carol Beswick found that she was and that her driving was dangerous. She sentenced Piercy, now 26, to five years’ imprisonment on April 24. 

Ms. Edwards, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was a passenger in the car. In addition to her and the driver, there were two other occupants.  

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie heard the bail application on Tuesday afternoon and delivered his decision the next morning. In granting bail, he warned that Piercy could have no expectation of not returning to prison if her appeal is not successful. 

He noted that the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal will not hear the matter until the November sitting.  

Bail is typically not granted pending appeal unless there is some likelihood of success, he indicated. 

Attorney Lucy Organ had explained five grounds of appeal, but the judge indicated that he did not need to consider them all in determining whether the test for bail was met. 

His ruling concentrated on the element of speed and the judge’s consideration of it. He noted, as did Justice Beswick, that speed alone does not amount to dangerous driving. 

The speed limit in the area where the fatal accident occurred is 50 miles per hour. An expert called by the defense calculated the speed of the vehicle at 65 mph before it went off the road, hit a tree and rolled over at least once before coming to rest.  

Given his decision as to the grounds of appeal against conviction, he did not need to go on to consider the grounds of appeal against sentence. 

Conditions of bail include a fixed residence and curfew from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Piercy is to provide a recognizance and bond in the sum of $20,000 with one or two sureties. She is also to be fitted with an electronic monitor. 

Other conditions include surrendering her passport and staying away from ports and the airport. In addition, she must report to her district police station twice per week at a specified time. 

Senior Crown Counsel Tanya Lobban appeared for the Crown. 

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