Crown’s last minute trial cancellation runs up costs

| 16/12/2013

(CNS): The public purse will be bearing the costs of a suspect’s travel bill and a courtroom is standing empty this week, despite a backed-up list of criminal cases, as a result of the crown’s failure to check on witness availability. The Grand Court heard Friday that a trial set for this morning (Monday 16 December) would have to be cancelled after two overseas witnesses were found not to be available when the crown made last minute checks. Even though the trial date was set in the summer, the crown did not appear to re-check the availability of the victim and a witness in a case, in which a spa worker at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is accused of indecent assault.

The trial of Damien Henry, who has denied the charge of indecent assault on a tourist at the spa, will now be moved to March next year. The suspect, who is on bail, was allowed to return to his native Jamaica when he could no longer work in Cayman and he had already arrived back in the jurisdiction in anticipation of the case when the crown applied to have this week’s trial vacated. As a result, the crown will now be picking up the tab for his flight.

Local defence attorney Lucy Organ objected to the change of trial date, as she said her client was “exceptionally anxious” to have his named cleared so he could return to work with the Ritz hotel chain as he is currently suspended. However, Justice Charles Quin granted the change in date, but noted that it was “very late in the day” for the prosecutors to be discovering that the witnesses were unavailable.

The prosecuting attorney said that both the women witnesses work in the medical profession and they were not available this week, either in person or by video link, but the crown said it would cover the additional costs incurred by the defendant as the witnesses were available for the new date in March.

Category: Crime

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