Cayman Marl Road administrator Sandra Teresa Hill appeared before the Summary Court Tuesday to answer charges of harassment.
Hill faces one count of using an ICT (information and communications technology) network to abuse/annoy/harass, and another count of causing harassment, alarm or distress.
The charges stem from incidents occurring between 1 Feb. and 25 Feb., during which Hill is alleged to have used the ICT network and/or social media applications as well as podcasts to harass, annoy or abuse businessman Matthew Leslie.
“The charges Ms. Hill face are category B and will have to be taken to the Grand Court,” said prosecutor Darlene Oko, before requesting Magistrate Adam Roberts impose a publication restriction on Hill.
“The Department of Public Prosecutions became aware of a social media platform named Cayman Marl Road, that on Monday, 21 Oct, made comments about these proceedings,” said Oko. “In light of this, the prosecution is requesting that a formal restriction be placed on Ms. Hill in regard to making any publication of the disclosed trial bundle presented to her.”
Oko referred to Section 111, subsection 1D, of the Criminal Procedure Code, which states that it is a criminal offence to publish material surrounding a criminal trial that undermines the trial or the parties involved.
“Our fear is that, should a trial be held, it would be in the Grand Court where Ms. Hill would have the right to a jury trial,” said Oko. “If she is able to publish information within the trial bundle, that could taint the jury pool.”
Hill, who represented herself in court, objected to the proposed publication restrictions.
“This is the sixth time I have had to the face the DPP’s office,” said Hill. “We should proceed on the basis that this will be a judge-alone trial, and there won’t be the need for a jury.”
Roberts disagreed with Hill, saying, “Right now, you are in the Summary Court and I will make the said order that you should not publish in whole or in part, any of the trial bundle.”
When asked if she understood the proposed restrictions, Hill said yes, but added that she would not provide an undertaking that she would not publish the material.
“In that case, I vary your bail conditions to make it a requirement that you do not make any such publications,” the magistrate said. “If you fail to adhere to the restrictions, you will be in breach of your bail conditions and you will be brought back to court, where you could be imprisoned.”
Hill’s next scheduled appearance for these charges will be in January when she is expected to go before the Grand Court for the first time.
Although Leslie is named as the complainant in the charges, he was not present in court.