Javonnie Silburn, who is accused of shining a laser at the police helicopter, had his trial adjourned until next week because a police officer due to give evidence is on an emergency relief operation in Turks and Caicos.
Crown counsel Emma Hutchinson said Sgt. Neil Mohammed was in Turks and Caicos with the police team providing relief after Hurricane Irma. He was scheduled to be back in Cayman on Friday night, which would enable her to call him as a witness in the coming week.
Mr. Mohammed was named by Constable Gustavo Rodrigues, who told Magistrate Grace Donalds on Wednesday that he was part of the helicopter crew deployed to East End on the night of April 29, 2015 following reports of a laser being shone at police cars.
The officer explained that he was responsible for communications with ground units and Mr. Mohammed was using the infra-red camera “with my guidance.”
Silburn, now 21, previously pleaded guilty to causing harassment, alarm or distress on the basis of shining the laser at the helicopter one time. The Crown rejected that basis of plea because the laser was used numerous times.
Statements of several officers have already been read into evidence with the agreement of defense counsel John Furniss. One statement indicated that when officers on the ground received information from Mr. Rodrigues, they approached Silburn and he produced a flashlight from his waist. The flashlight was checked and showed a white LED light; activated again, it showed a red laser beam.
Silburn initially told the officer who cautioned him, “It wasn’t me, I swear.” Interviewed several days later, he said he did point the laser at the helicopter but was not the first one to do so. He said he got the flashlight from “JJ” who had left the scene when police arrived. He said he did not know JJ’s real name or address.
When Mr. Rodrigues was questioned by Mr. Furniss on Wednesday after lunch, he said the helicopter was flying at a height between 600 and 800 feet.
He had previously stated that when the ground unit officers notified him that they were speaking with a male who had an Afro hairstyle (as Mr. Rodrigues had described him), the helicopter returned to base for refueling.
Asked if the officers on the ground could have been speaking to another man with an Afro hair style, Mr. Rodrigues said it was possible, but he had not seen any other male with an Afro. Mr. Furniss suggested that Silburn had been wearing long pants that night, but the officer said what he saw was short pants.
He told Mr. Furniss that the camera was not shining on the individual being arrested.
Asked again about identity, the officer said that if the defendant was the man with the Afro he saw on the camera, then he was the man shining the laser for the 30 minutes the helicopter was over the scene.
In summary, Mr. Furniss suggested that the officer could not say definitely that the defendant was the man with the laser.
“No, I have not said definitely he is the man,” the officer replied.