MLA abused role, says crown

| 09/05/2011

(CNS): The UDP’s representative for Bodden Town, Dwayne Seymour, used his position as a member of the Legislative Assembly to try and silence a security officer who witnessed the politician’s part in a fight outside a Seven Mile Beach hotel, the prosecution told a Grand Court jury on Monday. The MLA is charged with attempting to pervert, obstruct or defeat the course of justice in connection with a fight last year between Seymour and a man he believed was having an affair with his wife. The crown also accused the MLA of using his position to discover the travel plans of the man in question.

Opening his case to the jury of five men and two women on Monday, crown prosecutor John Masters told them that, despite Seymour’s position in the country’s parliament, they had come to the court to do a job without prejudice. He said the crown would show that the defendant had abused his role as a legislator and that the law applies to everyone, equally and fairly.

The prosecuting lawyer said that Seymour and his wife, Melanie, were having difficulties in their marriage and she had struck up a friendship with Garrone Yap. He said that she was not “a piece of property that belonged to her husband” andwas free to visit with whomever she chose. Masters added that whatever problems the Seymours had, it was not relevant to the issue of whether or not the MLA had tried to pervert the course of justice.

The crown counsel told the court that on 1 May 2010 Seymour had gone to Grand Cayman Beach Suites with the deliberate intention of seeking out Yap to confront him, as he had no other business there. Following an assault on Yap, he told Adrian Bowen, a security guard at the hotel, “You didn’t see nothing,” encouraging the officer to cover up the offence before he departed from the scene.

Setting out the crown’s case, Masters said Seymour had made it quite clear to Bowen that he was an MLA when he arrived. The MLA had then proceeded to remain parked in a fire lane for over thirty minutes and had asked Bowen if he knew which room his wife was in, having pointed out her car. Seymour also asked him for a key to the room but Bowen told the politician that he didn’t know where his wife was and nor could he give out keys.

Sometime later a friend of Seymour’s also arrived at the hotel and both men then confronted Yap when he came down to the hotel lobby area. A fight broke out in which, the crown says, Seymour struck Yap first and then the three men wrestled to the ground.

The crown called only two witnesses. The first was Garrone Yap, a personal trainer from the United States. He said he had come on vacation to Grand Cayman to visit Melanie Seymour, the defendant's wife, who he had met previously when she had taken a trip to Miami. He described how on the night of the incident he was waiting in the hotel lobby for Melanie when he was approached by the defendant and another man.

Yap told the court that as Seymour approached him he said, “What the f**! are you doing on my island?” Yap revealed that he realized who it was and he had responded saying he “did not know it was his island” or something like that. Yap said that Seymour then began to say derogatory things about Melanie. Yap said the MLA described his wife as a “f**!ing whore who had slept with at least ten men.

At that point, Yap told the jury, he began to tell Seymour he did not want to hear him and the politician punched him on the jaw. Yap said the two men began to fight and Seymour's friend also joined in as they wrestled and fell in the bushes in front of the hotel. Yap said he was able to eventually push Seymour away from him and then the security guard came to the scene and assisted him up and away from the men.

Yap said he did not immediately want to call the police as he was not sure what sort of power Seymour wielded on the island, as he knew he was a member of the parliament, and whether he might cause trouble for him. However, he revealed how he reconsidered the issue and later that evening he went to the police station, where he reported the incident. When he gave his statement to the police, he told the court, he was also arrested and held for three days in the wake of the incident but was ultimately not charged with any crime.

Defence counsel Steve McField, the attorney representing Seymour, accused Yap of striking the MLA first and provoking the argument, which he denied. He also stressed that he was a personal trainer who specialised in health, fitness and weight loss and was not a martial arts expert, as McField suggested.

During cross examination the defence attorney frequently became angry and shouted at the witness as he accused him of lying or not answering the questions properly. The crown objected a number of times at the “emotional” course the cross examination was taking and asked that defense counsel refrain from comment and moral debate, especially when McField suggested Yap should not have met with his client's wife as he knew she was married. Masters, on behalf of the crown, also pointed out that Yap was a lay witness and therefore the lawyer had to ask clear questions and allow him to answer.

Adrian Bowen, the security officer, was the crown’s second witness who confirmed to the court that Seymour had made it clear he was an MLA when he arrived at the hotel. The guard said he saw the fight between the three men but he did not see the fight start. He did see Yap backing away from the two men and then fall in the bushes, Bowen told the court. Having asked the front desk via radio to call 911, he then went to assist Yap. As he helped him up he saw that he was bruised and cut from the fight with the other two men.

The officer said he asked Seymour and his friend to leave but they did not do so immediately, and so once he had assisted Yap into the hotel lobby, he asked Seymour and his companion to again leave the hotel. It was then, Bowen told the court, that the MLA turned to him and said, “Security, you didn't see nothing,” which the guard said he took as a warning that he should not say anything to anyone about the incident.

The guard told the court that he was concerned because he did not want to get in trouble or lose his job as he was a work-permit holder. He said he was nervous about giving evidence since he was an expatriate and did not like the limelight.

During cross examination of the officer McField said the guard was mistaken by what he heard Seymour say and that his client had never implied that the guard should remain quiet. However, the guard said he was certain about what he had heard Seymour say and what he meant by it.

The case continues in Grand Court tomorrow when the defense is expected to answer the crown.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Crime

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.