‘Foots’ obscenity trial begins on Cayman Brac

Ronald ‘Foots’ Kynes leaves Summary Court on Cayman Brac, Thursday afternoon. - Photo: Ken Silva

The trial of Cayman Brac artist Ronald “Foots” Kynes began Thursday on the Brac, with the prosecution giving an opening statement and presenting two of its witnesses.

Mr. Kynes was charged last October with possession of an obscene publication in relation to his July arrest for refusing to remove a series of nude sculptures displayed on his roadside property, which are publicly visible.

At the opening of the trial, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran described four allegedly obscene statues that were displayed by Mr. Kynes: two statues depicting women with skulls near their vaginas, one with a female seemingly performing oral sex on another female, and one with a female kissing the breast of another female.

Mr. Moran alleged that Mr. Kynes deliberately placed the statues in a publicly viewable area – beside South Side Road – to “create a scene.”

According to the prosecutor, Mr. Kynes was interviewed by police last September, when he denied that the statues are obscene.

Mr. Moran said that Mr. Kynes told police the statues depicting females with skulls were Egyptian and Greek goddesses. The statue allegedly depicting oral sex was, in fact, depicting women in love, Mr. Kynes allegedly told police, declining to comment on whether they were engaging in oral sex. Mr. Kynes also said the statue allegedly depicting one woman kissing the breast of another was, in fact, women hugging, according to Mr. Moran.

The prosecutor added that Mr. Kynes said his intent for the statues was to support gay rights, and that he disagreed that they contained sexual overtones.

The first witness, Brac resident Alta Solomon, told the court that she first saw the statue of women seemingly engaging in oral sex last July.

“Being an artist myself, I was interested,” said Ms. Solomon, a photographer. “I wanted to see the works that were there.”

Ms. Solomon said she was “shocked” by the statue, and that afterward she refrained from driving by there with her 8- and 11-year-old children.

Mr. Kynes, who is representing himself in the trial, cross-examined the witness, asking her how often she travels by his property. She replied that she does so regularly at the weekends.

“You said ‘it seemed’ like two women having sex. Have you seen two women having oral sex?” he asked.

Ms. Solomon said that she has.

Mr. Kynes also asked her whether, as an artist, she has ever displayed semi-nude photos of her husband. Ms. Solomon said that she has not.

The second witness, Raquel Matute, said that she first saw the statue in June, and reported it to the police.

Mr. Kynes’s cross-examination of Ms. Matute was brief, only asking her how often she travels by his property.

She replied that she travels there a few times a month.

The two-day Summary Court trial, which is being held at the Aston Rutty Centre before Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn, is scheduled to continue through Friday.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.