Archive for July 18th, 2013

Young Brackers raise funds for recording studio

Young Brackers raise funds for recording studio

| 18/07/2013 | 6 Comments

(CNS): A new group on Cayman Brac has formed to encourage young musicians on the island, with the ultimate goal of building a recording studio, while keeping kids on the Brac entertained and drug free. Changing Lives And Setting Standards (C.L.A.S.S.) is an entertainment and recording group aimed primarily for the youth of Cayman Brac, and members say that hosting different themed parties has become their forte, as well as providing entertainment for third party events, such as providing the music for the teen section in the annual Braccanal Parade in May.

Entertainment for young people, they say, is hard to find on a small island but instead of complaining that there is not enough to do, they have decided to do something aboutit.

As an entertainment group C.L.A.S.S. hosts parties for youth in a safe, drug and alcohol free environment and it promotes cleaner, safer parties. Trying to keep kids away from the traditional “party and drinking” scene that has become so popular over the years, the group says it ensures the most fun yet safe activities for the youth of Cayman Brac.

C.L.A.S.S. has already held a variety of events, such as a Glow Party, a Valentine's Day Dance, a St. Patrick's Day Party as well as the After Braccanal Party for the youth, and says the feedback from the young people on the island has been very positive.

C.L.A.S.S. also encourages more local singers and entertainers to record and promote their own work, and a couple of artists are already on board.

As a recording group, C.L.A.S.S. hopes to release local music during the summer to help promote the talent on Cayman Brac. A spokesperson for the group said that many young people are nervous about performing in front of crowds and C.L.A.S.S. provides these young artists with an opportunity to present their art to the public in a professional and popular way.

“The internet is a catalyst for many musicians nowadays, with many popular artists including A$AP Rocky, Drake, Meek Mill and others getting their start from posting their music online. Using these same methods C.L.A.S.S. aims to get Brac artists' voices heard all around the globe,” he said. “Using state-of-the art recording equipment as well as social media, artists' music could be recorded and heard all across the world in the space of one day.”

“C.L.A.S.S. aims to develop the first recording studio run by the youth for the youth and with so many local supporters that aim does not appear to be too far out of sight,” the group’s spokesperson said.  “With many fundraisers during the summer planned, keep an eye out for C.L.A.S.S. posters as well as social media updates. C.L.A.S.S will be a name synonymous with the youth of Cayman Brac as we aim to promote and develop a classy next generation.”

The group consists of MalcolmH (Malcolm Hurlston), DJ DaCon (David Conolly), TannaB (Tanner Scott) and  R Bryan (Robert Bryan) with other occasional guests that contribute to the group, namely Tafari and Tushaun Young, K-Frass and Akito Lewis. Each member has a different role that contributes to the smooth running of the group, with DJ DaCon being the primary DJ for parties and events, while MalcolmH is the organizer and promoter for the group as well as a backup DJ and artist. TannaB is the social networking ambassador, using his many connections to spread the word about events and recording sessions with the public, while R Bryan is an artist and liaison for C.L.A.S.S.' promotion in Grand Cayman.

For more info and updates on events visit the C.L.A.S.S. Facebook page.

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CITA opens underwater photography competition

CITA opens underwater photography competition

| 18/07/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The annual Underwater Photography Competition hosted by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) is now open for submission. The competition is open to anyone — professional or amateur, local or visitor — but all photos must be taken in the Cayman Islands. All photos must be entered by noon on 25 October. The judges will be Cathy Church, Ellen Cuylaerts and Patrick Weir and the winners will be announced at the 9th Annual International Underwater Film Festival on Wednesday, 13 November, and afterwards displayed at the festival. (Photo by Peter de Maagt)

Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place photos in each of the following five categories: Fish/Turtles/Stingrays; Unusual; Critter/Macro; Scenic; Creative (includes opportunity for advanced photo editing).

Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place photographs in each category. Prizes, which value over CI$4000, are as follows:

1st place: CI$200 gift certificate to Diver's Supply in Grand Cayman, party keg of White Tip Lager by the Cayman Islands Brewery, winning image printed on canvas (16×20) by Cathy Church's Photo Centre.

2nd place: CI$100 gift certificate to Divers Supply in Grand Cayman, case of White Tip Lager by the Cayman Islands Brewery, winning image printed on canvas (11×14) by Cathy Church's Photo Centre.

3rd place: CI$50 gift certificate to Divers Supply in Grand Cayman, winning image printed on canvas (8×10) by Cathy Church's Photo Centre.

In addition, a ‘Best in Show’ award will be given to one of the first place photos as an overall best of the best. This grand prize winner will receive a trip on the Aggressor Fleet to a location of their choice (Cayman, Belize, Turks & Caicos or the Carib Dancer in the Bahamas.) The ‘Best in Show’ prize is valued at US$2,795, and includes accommodation, diving, air, weights, weight belts, all meals and snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, local beer and wine.

The International Underwater Film Festival, which coincides with the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, is an evening where a variety of underwater films (new and old, artistic and scientific) are shown.

This year, Divers Alert Network (DAN) is the presenting sponsor for the event. Proceeds from the Underwater Film Festival go to support CITA's marine conservation efforts, including the Dive 365 project.

A full list of rules and regulations can be found on the official entry form at For more information on the Underwater Photography competition, contact CITA at or 345-949-8522.

See flyer below.

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First female commandant in the Caribbean

First female commandant in the Caribbean

| 18/07/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): In what is truly a historical appointment for the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean region as a whole, Lieutenant Colonel Bobeth O’Garro who has been the acting Commandant for the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps since 2008, has now been confirmed to that post. This makes Lt. Colonel O’Garro the first female Commandant to lead a Corps in the Caribbean region.

Commandant O’Garro joined the Corps as a Deputy Commandant in 2002. At the time, she was being seconded from her position as a police constable with the RCIP; but even then she was making history by being the first female officer to join the recently established cadetting programme. Following the retirement of her predecessor Colonel Phillip Hyre, six years later she was appointed as acting commandant, and has held that post for the last five years.

Commandant O’Garro’s achievements during her tenure with the Corps have been notable as she has consistently sought to open new doors for cadets locally and regionally. She is recognized as being the driving force behind the introduction of the Business and Technology Education Council’s diploma (BTEC) to the Cayman Islands in 2003. This marked the introduction of the BTEC qualification to the Caribbean region and the vocational exam is now being offered in mainstream schools and in various subject areas.

Her accomplishments as it relates to BTEC have not gone un-noticed throughout the region and in 2010 she was the recipient of the Caribbean Cadet Medal for her contribution towards the development of the Cadet Corps in the Cayman Islands by her introduction of BTEC for both the local Corps and the region as a whole. She had been nominated by the then, Commandant of Trinidad and Tobago who recognized that Commandant O’Garro’s research and foresight had also opened the opportunity for cadets throughout the Caribbean to travel to various countries in the Army Cadet Exchange (ACE) program. She is a recipient of the Cayman Islands Cadet’s Long Service Medal; Disaster Mitigation Medal for services given during and in the aftermath of Hurricanes Ivan, Dean and Paloma; as well as the Good Conduct and Meritorious Service Medal.

The Corps is also proud to announce and welcome Lieutenant Wilston Bennett, who has taken up the post of Officer Commanding the Cayman Brac detachment.  Lieutenant Bennett will be responsible for training and development of cadets and volunteers in the sister islands as well as having general management responsibilities for the day to day operations of the detachment. 

Lieutenant Bennett joins the Corps from a position as the dean of discipline at a prominent high school in Jamaica, with enrollment of over 2400 students in his care. He is a trained counselor and social worker by profession, having received his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Counseling from the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville Jamaica. He brings on board a wealth of teaching and counseling experience. Lieutenant Bennett has taught at both the primary and secondary level, served as a probation officer; a guidance counselor (within theMinistries of Education and National Security, Jamaica) and residential child care officer with Jamaica’s Child Development Agency, where he was responsible for the overall safety of children being held in state residential facilities.

Both appointments took effect on 1st July 2013.

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Cayman now 5th in Island Games

Cayman now 5th in Island Games

| 18/07/2013 | 4 Comments

(CNS): It's day four of the Natwest Island Games 2013 and Cayman's athletes continue to impress. New medals. New records. New standings. As of Thursday morning, Cayman overtook Bermuda in the medal table and are now at fifth place with 30 medals, 12 of them Gold and 14 Silver. The games are becoming a razor thin race as second to sixth place in medal standings are all only separated by a single Gold medal, meaning these last two days of competition could see some big changes.

In Athletics, Alexander Pascal broke the Island Games' record in Men's Javelin Throw with his Gold medal winning effort of 70.66. Carl and Carlos Morgan refused to settle for anything less than Gold and Silver medals in Men's Long Jump. Carl was the defending Long Jump champion for the previous 2011 Island Games.

Swimming added yet even more medals to its haul. Brett and Shaune Fraser won Gold and Silver in the Men's 50m Fly and Gold and Silver as well in the Men's 100m Freestyle. Brett broke the record for the 50m Fly and Shaune beat theone for 100m Freestyle. Lara Butler claimed Silver in Women's 200m Backstroke.

Cayman's Men and Women's Beach Volleyball teams were both just barely edged out in the finals to take home Silver medals. Edison Mclean also earned a Silver in Individual Olympic Skeet.

Stay up to date with the latest results from Cayman's athletes and standings with the link below.

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Activist’s sex offenders list investigated by cops

Activist’s sex offenders list investigated by cops

| 18/07/2013 | 96 Comments

(CNS): Local activist Sandra Catron, who is trying to push the debate forward about how Cayman deals with sex-offenders, has herself become the focus of a police enquiry as a result of the Facebook page she created to name those who are convicted of abusing children or other sex-related crimes. Because the law prevents the media from publishing anything that could identify a victim in such criminal cases, often the perpetrators escape being identified despite being convicted of what many believe are some of the worst crimes committed in the community. For years Catron has battled in vain to have the local authorities create a register that can be viewed by the public.

As a result of a number of disturbing convictions recently, however, Catron has created her own unofficial register.

But the naming and shaming of convicted offenders continues to be controversial in Cayman because of the law and the size of the jurisdiction. The media has been criticised for not naming offenders but court gag orders and legislation that could turn on the publishers makes the local press reluctant to name them. Because Cayman is such a small jurisdiction, the authorities could easily suggest that naming a sexual predator would identify a victim, leading to prosecution of the reporter or owners of the publication. Although there is no blanket law prohibiting the naming of offenders, the result has essentially been the same.

Frustrated by the issues and as a result of several current rape cases in court, Catron decided that it was time to break the silence herself.

“Many victims from years gone by have come forward and are providing content and details of their assaults. Sexual abuse and rape is a deep-seated issue in these islands and we must take all steps to eradicate it. This sex offenders registry is only one such tool. The naming and shaming of offenders is necessary. Victims are having to live in shame whilst offenders are free to roam the streets and work in any jobs they can obtain,” she said.

However, following the creation of the new page, the police began investigating the issue, which Catron said sent a clear but wrong message to victims. Not only have consecutive governments ignored the pleas to set up a government-managed registry, now, when the community takes action themselves, the police are attempting to shut down the registry, she said.

“I must admit that this is the one time that I welcome the RCIPS to come and arrest me,” Catron told CNS. “I stand prepared to seek out international human rights groups and other entities for their support. I am extremely disappointed with this latest development. Victims have set aside their fear and come forward to assist me with the publications for the registry so I will stand strong also. By arresting me the RCIPS will not stop the publication as there are others not located in Cayman who have ample administrative rights to the page,” she said, as she accused the police of harassment.

With what she said had been overwhelming support for the registry, Catron said she is not giving up easily as she said more and more cases come to light on a daily basis.
Asked about the plans to close down the registry, the RCIPS said that the police were investigating the matter.

“The printing or publishing any information which could identify the victim of rape is an offence,” a spokesperson for the RCIPS told CNS. “The posting of names and photographs on this Facebook page causes us a great deal of concern. Firstly, the action could prejudice forthcoming court cases, but more importantly by identifying the accused this will in turn lead to the identification the victim. In this latest case involving a 12-year-old girl, while she is not named on the Facebook page, anyone who knows the accused or recognises him in the posting will be able to identify the victim. Thus re-victimising a vulnerable child who has already suffered so much,” she said.

However, Catron notes that no one who has not been convicted is named on the page and no victims' names appear.

“Every effort is taken to remove any identifying information as it relates to the victim,” Catron stated. “However, victims will not be subjected to any harassment as a result of this. Most victims have given me their full support and discussed their horrific ordeal. The page will also include things like anonymous impact statements from victims so that we can all learn and see how these incidents really affect people. We do not live in a vacuum and many amongst us are suffering,” she said, adding that it also offered general education on protection against sex crimes and signs of abuse.

There is no doubt that the persistent efforts by courts, the police and others involved to protect vulnerable victims has had the direct effect and unintended consequence of protecting offenders, who are then able to re-position themselves to continue their offending behaviour once they are released from prison, as they can gain the trust of others who know nothing of their crimes.

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New governor arrives for ‘sneak preview’ of Cayman

New governor arrives for ‘sneak preview’ of Cayman

| 18/07/2013 | 27 Comments

(CNS): Helen Kilpatrick, the British senior civil servant who successfully interviewed to be the next Cayman Islands governor, will be arriving in the Cayman Islands Thursday for a sneak preview of what will be her home for the next three years or more when she takes up the job in September. Officials described Kilpatrick’s three-day visit as a “a low-key and informal familiarisation”. She will meet with the current governor, Duncan Taylor, and review her accommodation and new environment and is expected to meet very briefly with the local press. Kilpatrick is not only the first woman to be appointed as a governor in Cayman but also the first who has not come from the diplomatic service.

Kilpatrick is an accountant with a long career history in local government in the UK and is a public finance expert.

The local press is being given the option to submit just one question per media house in advance to GIS and CNS is inviting readers to submit their proposals using the comment section below for questions today. We will pick the best or most popular one to submit.

Related article on CNS:

Kilpatrick interviewed for job


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Panton bankrolled PPM

Panton bankrolled PPM

| 18/07/2013 | 22 Comments

(CNS): The financial services minister contributed a whopping CI$183K to the Progressives’ successful bid for office, making him the top donor in an election campaign that appears to have been financed largely by the candidates themselves. According to documents detailing the 2013 General Election expenses, Wayne Panton, the former partner with Walkers made the largest contribution but in most cases the candidates rather than wealthy donors were the source of much of the more than $1 million spent on campaigns in the eight weeks before the poll. The law only requires the candidates to detail their spending from Nomination Day to the election and declare donations over $5,000.

What candidates spend and collect before that time does not have to be revealed, but according to the details of the period in question, there were only a few campaign contributions made by wealthy individuals or corporate donors.

The PPM collected $10,000 from Caribbean Marine Services, party supporter Robert Watler gave $8,200, Gene Thompson chipped in $7,000, while Chris Johnson and John McKenzie gave $5,000 each. The rest of the party’s large donations came from candidates. Aside from Panton’s major contribution, Anthony Eden threw in almost $11,000, Joey Hew stumped up over $22,000, Kurt Tibbetts put in $10,000 and Ray and Jackie Farrington gave $5,000 towards the more than $336,000 the party spent.

The UDP gave no indication of any individual donors but listed receiving more than $45,000 from “National”, a collective $5,000 from the George Town candidates and $8,000 from the West Bay team. Meanwhile, the Bodden Town UDP hopefuls chipped in the most towards the UDP bill of some $225,000, with Theresa Lewis Pitcairn and Chris Saunders donating $10k and $6k respectively.

Only Rolston Anglin from the PNA admitted to a major donation of over five thousand, which was $12,300 from Marcus Cumber.

Stefan Baraud, who ran for office in George Town as an independent, revealed a collection of corporate and individual donations amounting to around $30,000 of the more than $60 that he collected. He received $5,000 from Baraud International, $6,560 from Rafiki Ltd and Jean Louis David gave $8,200. Mark Vendervelde gave Baraud his largest individual donation of $10,000.

For more on election expense see related story on CNS and visit the elections office website

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Ramoon evades attempted murder rap for GBH

Ramoon evades attempted murder rap for GBH

| 18/07/2013 | 21 Comments

(CNS): The 21-year-old George Town man charged with the attempted murder of Andrew Lopez has been found not guilty of trying to kill him but guilty of wounding. The five women and two men selected to sit as jurors took about two hours of deliberation Wednesday to reach a unanimous verdict to acquit Justin Ramoon on the more serious charge while handing down a guilty verdict on the alternative charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Ramoon stabbed Lopez about eight times outside of Archie's Bar on Shedden Road in August last year. He was remanded in custody immediately after the verdict and is scheduled to be sentenced by acting judge, Justice Malcolm Swift, on Thursday.

During her closing argument, Crown counsel Toyin Salako said it was common sense as to what a person intends to do when they repeatedly stab someone to the top part of their body. However, defence attorney Ben Tonner was able to convince the jury that the defendant did not intend to murder Lopez because Ramoon stopped stabbing him at will, despite his advantage over the victim when he had slightly tripped and fallen over a cement slab. Lopez told the court that he did not try to put up a fight and that he had only been focused on getting away from his assailant.

The prosecutor was able to convince the jury that Andrew Lopez had correctly identified his attacker and that it was the defendant, Justin Ramoon. She said the victim knew on the basis that the lighting was sufficient to recognize his acquaintance of some six years. In addition, Ramoon made reference to a previous altercation between them that occurred just one week prior by asking “Where all your mouth is now?” while he was wielding the weapon.

The defendant's attorney told the court that “whenever the crown's case rests solely on identification, the jury have to exercise extreme caution.” Tonner expressed sympathy for the victim's injuries but said that the case lacked sufficient evidence to support the incident ever even happened because no other witnesses from the scene gave evidence to justify the happenings of 25 August. Tonner added, “They (the witnesses) are fallible like any other human being,” as he explained about common recognition mistakes before closing his argument.

Ramoon was taken back into custody Thursday after being released on bail in February and will be sentenced for his crime Thursday at 10am.

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‘I am qualified’ Rivers claims

‘I am qualified’ Rivers claims

| 18/07/2013 | 20 Comments

(CNS): Despite admitting to being employed by a UK law firm for a significant period of time during the seven years prior to the May general election, Tara Rivers has claimed that she was still resident in the Cayman Islands and qualified to be elected to the Legislative Assembly. She insisted that this country was still her home, even though she was overseas developing her career. In a long day of intense and sometimes prickly legal arguments between the lawyers representing Rivers and those representing John Hewitt, the petitioner who filed the challenge, it became clear that Rivers’ legal team does not intend to rely primarily on the position that she was a student while abroad but that she was legally resident in more than one country.

Nevertheless, when she took the stand, Rivers focused heavily on the training and educational development she said she received during her time at Allen & Overy in London. She also pressed the point that she believed, and still believes, that she was qualified to run for office and therefore qualified to be elected.

As he outlined the position of his client, Sir Jeffery Jowell, QC, the constitutional lawyer leading Rivers' legal team, said that, should the chief justice, who is hearing the case, decide that Rivers was not resident in Cayman, they may seek to rely on the issue of educational development during her time overseas, an exception provided for in the constitution. But Jowell made it clear that their position in the first place was that the exceptions to the seven year residency requirement could only be relevant if Rivers was found not to be resident in Cayman in the first place, which they maintain is not the case.

Rivers, who is now the education minister, also admitted that she has a United States passport that was renewed in 2006 which she uses for travel into that country. However, she claimed this did not constitute an act of allegiance to another power as she had a right to the passport because she was born in the US.

The day’s legal proceedings in the much-anticipated petition hearing began with an argument between counsels. The lawyers wrangled over whether or not the petitioner should be allowed to call further evidence to support his position that his wife, Velma Powery-Hewitt, should be duly elected in place of Rivers if the petition succeeds. This was fiercely objected to by Rivers’ team, based on the strict directions that had been laid down by Justice Alex Henderson in the preparation of the case in order to ensure the matter was dealt with as quickly as possible in the public interest.

However, while Chief Justice Anthony Smellie did not rule out the possibility that he would allow further evidence on that point, he took the position that the challenge to Rivers’ qualification to be elected had to resolved first before any decision on what the remedy might be if she was not.

Once the case was underway, Hewitt was called to the stand first and his petition introduced to the court. Under cross-examination of his affidavit supporting the petition, a number of significant errors in the document were highlighted by Jowell that raised questions of how familiar Hewitt was with what was said to be his own evidence. Sowing seeds of the idea of opportunism on the part of Hewitt and that he may not be the sole protagonist of the petition, Jowell was brief with his cross-examination.

With the essence of the case outlined, Hewitt said he believed that Rivers was not qualified by virtue of having an American passport and disqualified by the fact that she did not meet the seven year residency requirement prior to any election. He also said that he believed that the returning officer had failed in his duty to address these issues.

Rivers took to the stand just before lunch and was taken through her affidavit by Jowell, giving her the opportunity to establish her defence and the position that her primary residence was always in West Bay, as she referred directly to her home on Uncle Bobs Road. She spoke about her time overseas as something she had to do so that she would be better equipped to serve her country. Rivers said she retained her car here, and aside from the few personal possessions she needed with her while overseas, most of her belongings remained at her home in West Bay.

Rivers insisted that her time overseas was about professional development and her intention had always been to return to Cayman as soon as possible, where she remained a resident throughout.

She admitted that she owned and used an American passport, which she said she was entitled to hold by virtue of birth, but this did not mean she had committed any act that suggested allegiance to another country.

During cross-examination by Hewitt’s leading counsel, Abraham Dabdoub from Jamaica, a number of issues were raised and put to Rivers about her views regarding her qualification. He asked if she was aware that Richard Christian, who also has a US passport because he was born there, was disqualified by his returning officer in Bodden Town. Rivers was evasive and said that she was in West Bay dealing with her own nomination at the time and was not clear on the details of Christian’s disqualification. Asked if she believed there should be one rule for all Caymanians, Rivers was hesitant and hedged her answer before she eventually said yes.

She also claimed not to have read the voluntary declaration form given to her on Nomination Day and said that when it was clear that it was not a constitutional requirement, she opted not to fill it in. When it was suggested by Dabdoub that Rivers had read it but refused to sign it because it asked if she had any other passports, the education minister denied that and insisted she had opted not to sign it as she did not need to under the law.

Although Rivers said several candidates had refused to fill in and sign the voluntary form, the Elections Office had confirmed that only a handful of the 56 candidates had declined to submit the declaration. The form had been designed, election officials said at the time, to focus the minds of candidates on their qualification, as officials had hoped to avoid the possibility of any challenges to the election result.

Those hopes were clearly dashed with the filing of Hewitt’s petition, and during the afternoon’s cross-examination Dabdoub pressed Rivers for the details of her time overseas and the use and renewal of her US passport.

The questioning was in preparation for what will be the critical arguments between the teams’ expert witnesses on the American constitution and citizenship that are both expected to be called to give evidence Thursday.

As the case progressed, it became clear that, despite the complexities and continued disagreements between legal counsel, the issues will be very narrow. The chief justice will have to decide if Rivers’ absence from Cayman in the seven years prior to the election meant she was or was not resident and whether the renewal and continued use of an American passport by Rivers constituted an act of allegiance to another power.

The case was adjourned on Wednesday afternoon just before 5pm in what remained a packed courtroom. During the course of the afternoon’s hearing, Premier Alden McLaughlin was in attendance, as well as Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton and several other PPM party members. Most of Rviers' Coalition for Cayman election running mates attended at some point during the hearing, including Kent McTaggart, who opted not to run in Bodden Town as a result of questions over the seven year residency requirement.

Although Velma Hewitt was present, none of her West Bay UDP party colleagues attended but the UDP party chair, Tessa Johnson Bodden, was in court and Theresa Lewis Pitcairn, one of the UDP’s BT candidates, was also present in the afternoon.

The case will resume in Court 2 at 10am Thursday.

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