Speaker of the House and West Bay West MLA William McKeeva Bush on Friday pleaded not guilty to assault charges stemming from an incident earlier this year at a West Bay Road bar.
Appearing in Summary Court by speaking via video link from his lawyer’s office, Bush pleaded not guilty to three counts of common assault, and one count of drunken disorderly conduct.
Bush is alleged to have assaulted a member of the bar staff on 21 Feb. at Coral Beach. The assault charges allege that Bush grabbed the woman by her hair and hit her in the head as well as threw bus tubs at her. The charge of drunk and disorderly conduct alleges that Bush acted in a drunken manner and then failed to leave the premises when asked.
The name of the alleged victim was read aloud in court but the Compass is not publishing her name in order to protect the identity of the alleged victim of an assault.
No trial date was set Friday and Michael Alberga, Bush’s lawyer, requested a 30-day adjournment.
“We have received a number of pieces of evidence of videos that was captured by security cameras,” said Alberga. “The videos have been sent to the experts in Miami for forensic analysis, however due to the pandemic in the US, we have not been able to receive a response from them.
“A number of cameras captured video in the night and the quality of the video is poor, but we have sent it to the video experts for their analysis.”
Alberga said that once the video experts have returned their findings, his client might be willing to change his plea, but until then the plea of not guilty would be entered.
Bush, 65, is the current West Bay West Member of the Legislative Assembly, and the longest-serving politician. Bush serves as the Speaker of the House, however he has taken a leave of absence from the position since the incident.
Bush was released on bail and is expected to make an in-person appearance on 14 Aug., when he next returns to court. His two previously scheduled court appearance before Friday were both put off due to administrative adjournment.