The harassment trial of Sandra Teresa Hill resumed on Thursday, with the Cayman Marl Road administrator telling the Grand Court she threw away a warning letter from businessman Matthew Leslie’s attorneys because she viewed it to be frivolous.
Hill is facing a charge of using an ICT (information and communications technology) network to abuse, annoy or harass Leslie.
The warning letter urged Hill not to proceed with an advertised podcast during which she was expected to make several allegations about him.
“You knew that Mr. Leslie’s counsel was putting you on notice that if you continued with [the advertised allegations], they would be seeking committal proceedings for your imprisonment?” asked prosecutor Darlene Oko.
“Well, what I do know, with all due respect, is that lawyers write letters when they are provided with money, that’s what they do and they pretty much say anything,” responded Hill. “Did this [letter] impress upon me that this would be a legitimate concern? No, it didn’t.”
Hill proceeded with the podcast, during which she made several allegations about Leslie’s marriage and other aspects of his personal and professional life. The allegations were then posted on Hill’s Cayman Marl Road website and its related social media platforms.
She told the court that the police did not warn her against doing the podcast, rather they requested she didn’t do it, and told her the matter was a civil dispute.
She said that the police detectives themselves had told her Leslie had come to them with “numerous complaints” before, and they had not contacted Hill about those incidents. She added that the police told her, “we just want to keep the peace and this is a civil matter”.
Oko disputed this, telling the court that Hill was made aware, by Leslie’s attorneys through the letter, that if she proceeded with the podcast, criminal charges would be brought against her.
“That third paragraph says absolutely the contrary; it says, this is a matter that will be pursued by Mr. Leslie by way of further criminal complaint under the Penal Code and Section 90 of the ICT Law,” said Oko. “It says nothing about it being a civil matter.”
Justice Roger Chapple, who is presiding over the matter, earlier ruled that the truthfulness of the allegations was not a matter for the courts to decide, and instead the hearing should focus on whether Hill had committed an offence by publishing the allegations.
The prosecution argued that in light of the warnings Leslie’s attorneys gave Hill prior to the podcast, that broadcast as well as the posts by Hill leading up to the podcast amounted to harassment.
Hill admits the alleged conduct but argues it did not amount to a criminal offence.
She is represented by Clayton Phuran.
The trial continues tomorrow.