Suspended senior immigration officer Jeannie Lewis has had her trial set for three days, starting June 18.
Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn set the new date on Tuesday morning after refusing an application for proceedings to be stayed on the basis that the defendant could not get a fair trial.
Ms. Lewis is charged with permitting a premises to be used for consumption of a controlled drug and knowingly assisting a person to land in the Cayman Islands.
She was arrested after a pre-dawn raid at her home on Aug. 25, 2016. Also arrested at the time were her two adult sons, the girlfriend of one of the sons, and Antonio Bullard – a Bahamian national who turned out to be an illegal lander.
Ms. Lewis pleaded not guilty to both charges in December 2016 and trial was set for June 15, 2017. The court schedule did not allow it to go ahead that day and trial was set for Nov. 22, 2017.
The magistrate noted that there had been several adjournments because of disclosure issues and on the November date, defense attorney Richard Barton advised that he wished to make the application for a stay (or halt) of proceedings.
Four days later, Crown counsel Scott Wainwright disclosed two more police statements for the defense. He explained that the delay was due to failure to realize that the statements had not been given to Ms. Lewis’s attorney because they had been given to another defendant. He also submitted that the delay was not inordinate, and there was no abuse of process because the defense would have time to consider the statements.
The magistrate said the failure to disclose those police statements was unsatisfactory but did not go so far as to offend the court’s sense of propriety. She said the Crown should be censured with a cost order, to be determined at the end of proceedings. The magistrate also rejected Mr. Barton’s second reason for his application – the deportation of Mr. Bullard after he pleaded guilty to illegal landing and served his sentence.
Mr. Barton said Mr. Bullard’s evidence would have exonerated Ms. Lewis. The magistrate said she had read Mr. Bullard’s interview with police and he had given an account of his interactions with the family and how he came to be at the property. The magistrate said Ms. Lewis could speak to that and other individuals who had been present could also give evidence.
The magistrate concluded that the delay caused by the Crown was unsatisfactory, but did not bring the judicial process into disrepute and this matter was not a proper case to stay proceedings on the basis of delay.