50 Years ago: A notable legal first

In the Feb. 9, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the court reporter wrote:

“On Jan. 28 before Judge J.S. Kerr of Jamaica, Mr. E. Hedley Conolly was charged with criminal libel in that in Sept. last year he personally delivered, at the office of Dr. Charles Broadbent, a letter alleged to contain a scurrilous libel against the said Dr. Broadbent, which was likely to cause a breach of the peace.

“Mr. Karl Brandon, barrister-at-law, appeared on behalf of the prosecution which was a private one and Mr. Carl Rattrey appeared for the defendant.

“The hearing lasted two days and the accused was found ‘guilty’ and fined 25 pounds or 2 months hard labour.

“The fine was paid.

“We understand that this is the first time in the history of the Cayman Islands that anyone has been charged with criminal libel and found guilty of the offence. There have, of course, been many civil libel cases.”