Wong trial: Attorney claims ‘selective prosecution’

Trial adjourned for mention again on Nov. 2

The Courthouse Building in downtown George Town. – photo: Taneos Ramsay

The trial of senior immigration officer Garfield (Gary) Wong was adjourned on Thursday after defense attorney asked the Crown for further information and questioned why his client had been charged with traffic offenses when an accident reconstructionist had said that Wong was not at fault.

Further, he pointed out, the other driver was never before the court, “so this looks like selective prosecution.” Although, according to evidence heard in January, the other driver was the cause of the accident, she was never charged, so the circumstances demanded that the matter be fully aired, Mr. Brady declared.

The incident leading to charges occurred along Shamrock Road in the early hours of Dec. 28, 2013, and Wong first appeared in Summary Court in early May 2014. The matter was adjourned for a month for Mr. Brady to obtain disclosure.

Trial started on Jan. 10, 2017 with Wong pleading not guilty to careless driving, leaving the scene of the accident and driving under the influence of alcohol. A breath test showed an alcohol-in-blood level of .184. The legal limit in Cayman is .100.

Among other things, Mr. Brady said he was seeking the court’s assistance in obtaining information as to the whereabouts of the officers involved in the case on the night of the accident, specifically between 2:27 p.m. and 2:29 a.m. He also asked for communications between the officers or from their supervisor in relation to the matter.

Crown counsel Scott Wainwright said he had difficulty seeing the relevance of some of Mr. Brady’s requests. He questioned how some of the records sought would assist the court in assessing the reading of the Intoxilyzer 5000 used when Wong was tested.

He noted that Mr. Brady wanted additional information because the officer administering the test could not remember who was in the room at the time. That did not affect the reliability of the test unless there was some suggestion of nefarious activity by someone, Mr. Wainwright said.

He said if the defense wanted to submit that any officer had perjured himself, then that needed to be put to the officer fairly and squarely.

Mr. Brady said the defendant was a highly respected senior civil servant and his reputation could not be treated as being of no value. He submitted that he had the right to request any evidence that could assist his client. Otherwise, this would not be “an impartial, professionally executed prosecution,” he asserted.

Mr. Wainwright indicated he did not know if the information Mr. Brady wanted even existed, so he did not know how long it would take for him to obtain it. The magistrate set Nov. 2 as a mention date, by which time any available information should be known.

Mr. Brady also asked for a court order in order to obtain further information from 911 transmissions on the night of the accident.

On Wednesday, Mr. Brady called Wong’s personal physician, who said he diagnosed Wong as having gastritis in January 2013, with several incidents of gastric reflux since then.

Magistrate Grace Donalds has already heard from expert witnesses on the subject of “mouth alcohol,” and whether it affects breath tests. The theory is that if there is excess alcohol in the stomach, a “wet belch” could contaminate the breath sample and make the reading higher.

The witness for the prosecution stated that the device used for Wong’s test would detect the mouth alcohol. The witness for the defense has said the machine cannot discern between alcohol present in the mouth and alcohol in the blood, so the reading would be affected.

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