A Grand Court jury on Thursday found Charles Walton III guilty of wounding with intent, but not guilty of assault.

The charges stemmed from a fight that occurred in May this year, during the annual Batabano street festival. On the night in question, at around 7pm, Walton was said to be walking with two friends, and stopped by a food vending stall to purchase water. During the trial, the jury heard that Walton and his friends refused to pay for the water, and when they became disorderly, they were asked to leave.

The jury heard that one of the three men punched the vendor in the face, while another retrieved a knife from the waist of his trousers. The vendor’s nephew, who intervened, was stabbed during the incident, which only lasted a few seconds. Walton was also stabbed but managed to leave the area. He later collapsed outside the library, a short distance away.

During the trial, the jury also heard from an off-duty police officer who was in the crowd at the time. The officer said he saw a man walking towards him holding his side as if he were in pain. A few moments later, the man collapsed. That man was Walton.

The court heard that Walton made admissions during a police interview, which he would later contradict. In one account, Walton said he and his friends purchased a beer, and then went on to pick up water from another vendor. Shortly after that, Walton said he felt a sharp pain in his side, and when he lifted his shirt, he saw blood. In the other account, Walton acknowledged to police that the stabbing had happened, but said it was self-defence.

On Thursday in the Grand Court, the jury returned with unanimous verdicts against 21‑year-old Walton. As he walked to the holding cells below, he wiped tears from his eyes and kissed his family and friends who attended the proceedings.

Earlier, Walton also pled guilty to charges of theft and escaping police custody. The day after the incident, on awaking in hospital, he managed to escape from police who were tasked with watching him.

He fled the Cayman Islands Hospital through the back doors and when outside stole a bicycle from a man who was riding nearby. He rode as a far as Ultra Lounge before he was spotted by a family member who picked him up and took him home. However, the following day, he was returned to the hospital.

Walton, who has been in custody since May, was remanded until his sentence, which is expected to be in the coming months.

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