Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez has given the Crown one final chance to bring its case against a man charged with assaulting a police officer, a case that has dragged on for nearly a year.
Three officers who were scheduled to testify for the prosecution failed to show up in court on Tuesday. Crown council Emma Hutchinson said at least one officer had reported not receiving a summons. A second officer in the case also said he had not been summoned.
“This lack of respect for the time of the court is unacceptable,” the magistrate said, noting the trial had been scheduled to begin an hour earlier. “Whatever system is supposed to be working isn’t working. I can’t have the defendant waiting [indefinitely]. It’s just not right.”
The defendant, Mark Blake, 28, is charged with assaulting Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Inspector Ian Yearwood during a nighttime traffic stop on Dec. 10 last year.
Mr. Yearwood, a 27-year veteran of the police service, reported that Blake, who was a passenger in the car, used foul language.
To the officer, that constituted disorderly conduct. When Mr. Yearwood attempted to remove Blake from the car, an altercation ensued.
In earlier testimony, Mr. Yearwood said Blake kicked him and punched him in the mouth, breaking two of his teeth. Another officer, Julius Blackwood, testified he saw both men throwing punches. Blake was eventually pepper sprayed, subdued and handcuffed.
Blake was not charged with disorderly conduct, but was charged with assaulting a police officer. He pleaded not guilty.
The trial is scheduled to resume Nov. 29.