Defence lawyer implies officials corrupt

| 12/05/2011

(CNS): The attorney representing MLA Dwayne Seymour told a jury on Wednesday that Cayman authorities had chosen to protect a man who was committing adultery with his client’s wife but had chosen to prosecute Seymour for trying to protect his family. In his closing speech during Seymour’s trial for perverting the course of justice, defence lawyer Steve McField expressed his outrage that the crown had conspired against a hard working, successful Caymanian to facilitate a foreigner to "run around" with his wife. In stark contrast to the crown’s position, McField focused heavily on the morality of the case, saying his client had a right to protect his family and his wife, who, he said, was Seymour’s “sacred vessel”. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

As the two attorneys closed their case on Wednesday afternoon they presented their arguments not only to the usual courtroom audience, which included the defendant’s friends and family, but the premier, a cabinet minister, a backbench colleague in the Legislative Assembly and a former PPM representative.

John Masters, the crown counsel, said the case was not about Melanie Seymour’s relationship with Garrone Yap or the morality of that but it was about perverting the course of justice and whether or not Seymour had used his influence to try and stop a man for giving evidence in a police enquiry.

He told the five men and two women that the security guard who had heard Seymour say, “Security, ya don’t see nothing” had no reason to lie. However, he questioned Seymour’s credibility and said he had been proven to have lied as well as being manipulative and evasive during the trial.

“When I said he had lied he said it was an outrage,” Masters stated, referring to his cross examination of the witness.  “It’s not a lie, it’s a scheme, he told us — and that’s your MLA,” Masters added.

He said the report he gave to the police on the night of the fight “contained some truth, lots of embellishment and many lies.”  He told the jury that if they believed the security guard then it was simple, Seymour was guilty as charged as he had denied ever saying the words. Masters said Seymour did not claim that the guard had misheard or misunderstood but denied using the words because it was clear what their intent was.

He reminded the jury that the law applies to everyone equally and if they were sure Seymour had said those words but they refused to convict, the course of justice would break down.

When McField took to his feet, he told the jury to use their “good ol’ fashioned Caymanian commonsense” and said as a Christian nation Cayman had higher morals and should not stand for the injustice committed by Yap on his client.

He said the personal trainer from Miami, was taunting Seymour with the affair with his wife living in his house, using the car that Seymour had paid for, and given such circumstances, he said that his client had done far less than many other men would do.

McField said Seymour had a right to confront Yap. “I wonder what any of you would have done if you heard your wife was committing adultery with another man?” he asked the jury rhetorically.  McField said the scheme cooked up by Seymour and Minzett was nothing compared to the action that other men may have taken.

The attorney was outraged by suggestions that his client had used his position as an MLA to get information from the airport to find out where Yap was staying or that there was anything sinister in his attempts to get the room key to find his wife.

He said Seymour did not say the words on the indictment, which was what the case was about, nor did he try to get Yap arrested. McField said if he had that kind of power, his client wouldn’t be sitting in the dock. He implied if it were possible the premier would have ensured that Seymour did not face charges.

McField also pointed to the country’s national hero, saying that if Jim Bodden were alive he would never have stood for what was happing to his client. “He would have made sure (Yap) was arrested,” McField exclaimed.

But the attorney told the jury that this was where Caymanians had got to, where the police and the crown colluded to protect a foreign witness, to allow him to have an affair with Melanie Seymour while they put his client in the dock.

“It is because he is a foreigner that he gets all this protection,” he added about Yap. “And we have to put up with all that.” He described Yap as an opportunist who seized upon this young successful, Caymanian family and found “the weakness” in Seymour’s wife who, he said, “had fallen for Yaps lies.”

He said Yap had told blatant lies in the court to bolster the prosecution’s case, although McField said he did not blame the crown’s attorney. He had been “dealt the cards he had to work with” by the police, who were out to destroy his client.

McField said there was no factual basis for the charges and despite the seriousness of the offence they were also frivolous. The crown’s case, he said, was like a “loaf of bread which doesn’t have any yeast in it so it won’t rise.”

He said the crown did not show intent, had not proved anything against his client and that the jury should not rely on the witness statement of the security guard. McField said the guard’s evidence should be treated with suspicion because he had lied and colluded with the police, despite the lawyer not having put that proposition to the witness when he was on the stand.

McField also told the jury that they had to be one hundred percent sure that he was guilty before they could convict his client — more sure than they had ever been about anything. However, the law states that a jury must be sure beyond reasonable doubt.

As he wound up the unorthodox closing argument, the lawyer told the jury to send Seymour home as he was an innocent victim who had been through a terrible ordeal. “He sits in the dock for trying to protect his family, his home, his castle and his wife, his sacred vessel,” McField added.

As the jury left the court expecting to return Thursday morning for the judge’s direction before deliberation, Crown counsel indicted that he would need to make an application to the judge before that, which will be revealed in the absence of the jury this morning in Grand Court five at 10am.

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