Cayman Marl Road administrator, Sandra Teresa Hill, pleaded not guilty to allegations of harassment in the Grand Court on Friday.
Prior to Hill entering pleas Prosecutor Darlene Oko told the court the Crown had reviewed the charges against Hill and they were ready to proceed.
“After having made a minor amendment to the indictment, the Crown can now state its position on the record,” said Oko. “The Crown served, by way of a letter, to my friend (Clayton Phuran, Hill’s attorney) yesterday our intention; which is to proceed on either one or the other of the two charges. The Crown would also be willing to accept a guilty plea to one of the charges.”
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.
Prosecutor Oko said because the incidents were so similar, and because they occurred within the same time frame, the Crown would not be go to trial on both charges, instead one of the charges would be left on file.
During the previous court hearing, on 7 Feb., the court ordered the prosecution to review the charges, after Phuran highlighted that they were brought under the wrong section of the law.
On Friday, after Oko outlined the Crown’s position, Phuran initially expressed some trepidation towards accepting the Crown’s offer.
“My Lord, by listing both charges on the indictment, we say it is prejudicial,” said Phuran before drawing the courts attention to a Canadian case where a defendant was to be sentenced for multiple charges arising out of the same offence.
“I disagree,” said Justice Philip St John-Stevens, “If you have a case where a defendant is tried for attempted murder, as well as assault causing grievous bodily harm, and simple assault; all rising from the same incident and the defendant is convicted, the lesser charges would be subsumed by the more severe. In this case, the prosecution is not attempting to proceed on both charges, and so I do not see how it can be prejudicial.”
Phuran agreed, and Hill pleaded not guilty to both charges. A three-day judge-alone trial was set for 25 May.
Hill was released on bail.