Harassment charges against Marl Road host to be reviewed

Sandra Hill

Prosecutors will have to review their charges against Cayman Marl Road administrator Sandra Teresa Hill, who appeared before the Grand Court on Friday on allegations 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 allege that, between 1 Feb. and 25 Feb. 2019, Hill used the ICT network and/or social media applications, as well as podcasts, to harass, annoy or abuse businessman Matthew Leslie. On Friday, when Hill was due to enter her plea on the charges, her attorney Clayton Phuran requested that the charges be quashed.

“On count one [misuse of an ICT network], the charge is contrary to Section 92 of the 2017 Information and Communications Technology Law,” said Phuran. “The problem is that the offences are alleged to have happened in 2019, and therefore the correct statute would be the 2019 law, which came into effect on 1 January 2019.”

Phuran added that Section 92 of the 2019 law would not be appropriate to charge Hill, because it penalises a person who unlawfully acts as an administrative point of contact or technical point of contact, and not a person who uses an ICT network to abuse, harass or annoy.

Phuran then added that the nature and circumstances surrounding the alleged offences were so similar that he believed by filing two separate charges against Hill, the prosecution was “overloading the indictment”.

“It is for this reason that we request your Lordship quash the charges,” said Phuran. “Of course, the prosecution can bring back the charges under the correct sections and statutes of the law, should they wish to do so.”

Justice Philip St. John-Stevens, who presided over the matter, decided not to throw the charges out. He said, “Instead I invite the prosecution to review the charges.”

Prosecutor Nicole Petit agreed to review the charges and requested that the matter be brought back to court on 12 Feb.