Jailed lawyer faces DUI charges from 2011

After five years and 25 court dates, charges still unresolved

A corporate lawyer who was sentenced to prison for three years for injuring two tourists in his sports car after a champagne brunch still faces charges of speeding and drink driving that date back almost five years.

According to court documents, just after 2 a.m. on Sept. 10, 2011, Simon Courtney was pulled over as he drove his Porsche sports car along West Bay Road. The speed gun clocked his vehicle at 85 miles per hour. A police breathalyzer test indicated his blood-alcohol level was nearly double the drink driving limit.

Despite at least 25 scheduled court dates since then, charges of driving under the influence, speeding and dangerous driving in relation to that incident have not been adjudicated. Courtney has denied the charges, disputing the accuracy of the breathalyzer, and is due back in court next month for the continuation of a trial in front of Magistrate Valdis Foldats.

It was while on bail in connection with those alleged offenses that Courtney struck Richard and Kathy Schubert with his Mustang Shelby GT 500 sports car on West Bay Road in January 2015 after drinking champagne at a brunch at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The lawyer, who fled the scene and denied responsibility at trial, was sentenced last week to three years in prison.

Delivering his verdict in that case, Justice Malcolm Swift asked lawyers on both sides why the 2011 case was still going through the courts in mid-2016. He said he was unable to consider the offenses in passing sentence since they were unresolved.

Court files reviewed by the Cayman Compass indicate that in the early hours of Sept. 10, 2011, Courtney was stopped by police in his Porsche Carrera 4, traveling 85 mph, according to the police officer’s speed gun reading, in a 40 mph speed limit zone along West Bay Road. A breathalyzer test after he was stopped registered a blood-alcohol content of 0.195. The legal limit is 0.1.

He was bailed later in 2011 on charges of DUI, speeding and dangerous driving.

The records indicate that seven hearings in the case were scheduled in 2012, and at some stage Courtney entered a not guilty plea and indicated his intention to provide expert testimony to dispute the reading of the police breathalyzer test.

A trial was scheduled for May 2012, and later moved to March 2013. Between March 2013 and April 2015, the case was listed for trial on three occasions and for mention on another 12 occasions, according to a summary of the court appearances included in the court file.

Handwritten notes indicate there were at least another three court appearances in the case this year.

A series of handwritten notes indicate reasons for delays at various stages, including the requirement for the Crown to find its own expert witness, the availability of expert witnesses and a change of lawyer for the defendant.