Fire officer acquitted in hit-and-run

Senior fire officer John Sidney Bodden was acquitted on Tuesday of charges relating to a 2015 hit-and-run incident in which two brothers were injured.

Mr. Bodden was acting fire chief on Jan. 26, 2015 – the National Heroes Day holiday – when the brothers were struck by a vehicle while in the pedestrian crossing in the four-lane section of the road near Savannah Primary School.

When the defendant first appeared in court in July 2015, he was on required leave. In October 2015 he pleaded not guilty to charges of careless driving and leaving the scene of the accident. Trial took place over four dates in 2016 and continued this week on Monday, when defense attorney Laurence Aiolfi made a submission of no case to answer.

On Tuesday morning, Crown counsel Eleanor Fargin replied. Magistrate Philippa McFarlane ruled in the afternoon, finding there was no case for the defendant to answer.

The basis for the magistrate’s decision was that there was insufficient evidence that it was Mr. Bodden’s car that struck the victims. A written judgment is to be provided.

Mr. Bodden’s car was a silver 2004 Lincoln Continental.

A case summary, which is not formal evidence but indicates what the Crown’s case is, stated that a silver Lincoln Continental was seen in the vicinity of the incident.

A press release from police days after the incident described the vehicle as a light-colored sports car.

Among the agreed facts during trial was a list of Lincoln Continentals registered in Cayman since 2000 and their colors.

Both victims sustained injuries. The older brother, 20, was treated at hospital and released. The younger brother, 14, sustained a fractured skull, fractured hip and fractured left leg; he was hospitalized for about two weeks.

The incident occurred around 6:50 p.m., about 35 minutes after sunset. The brothers were said to have been knocked off a bicycle that both were riding – one sitting on the crossbar and steering, the other on the seat, pedaling.

In addition to the two charges for which not guilty verdicts were recorded, the defendant faced charges of using a vehicle without a certificate of roadworthiness and permitting the use of an unregistered vehicle. He entered guilty pleas early in the matter and was fined $200.

***Editor’s Note: The Compass has requested a copy of the written judgment and will report on it when received.***

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