Lack of disclosure leads to dismissal of assault charge

The case of a woman charged with assault was dismissed on Tuesday after defense attorney Richard Barton advised the court that after two months he still had not received any disclosure papers from the Crown.

Disclosure is information a defendant needs in order to answer the charge. It typically includes a copy of the charge, a summary of alleged facts, the defendant’s interview with police and copies of witness statements.

Mr. Barton’s client, 23, was accused of assaulting another female and causing her actual bodily harm at the Jacques Scott parking lot on Feb. 28.

The court file showed that the matter was in the Summary Court on Aug. 4, at which time the Crown had no file. The matter came before the court again on Sept. 1 and Sept. 15 and on both occasions the Crown had no file.

On Sept. 15, Magistrate Valdis Foldats was presiding and noted it was the third time the matter was listed. “I’m going to give directions,” he said. “Disclosure must be made or there may be consequences.” He directed that disclosure be made by Sept. 25.

On Oct. 6, Mr. Barton told Magistrate Grace Donalds that the disclosure “had not been forthcoming.” Moreover, the Crown counsel in court this week did not have a file for the matter.

Informal notes kept by the Cayman Compass show that various Crown counsels had been in court on the previous dates.

With no comment from the Crown, the magistrate gave her ruling: “The charge is dismissed for want of prosecution.”

“The charge is dismissed for want of prosecution.”

GRACE DONALDS, magistrate