(CNS): Kenneth Bryan, the premier’s political assistant and former TV news reporter, has pleaded not guilty to two counts against him relating to an incident last October. Bryan, who is suspended from his job in the premier’s office on full pay, is essentially charged with cursing at a police officer and will now face trial in August. When he appeared in court Tuesday morning, represented by Karin Thompson, he denied the formal charges of assaulting police and disorderly conduct, in which he is accused of “abusive and calumnious language”.
Bryan told CNS that he will vigorously defend the charges. The former reporter has stated that the incident, which happened in the car park of Dreams nightclub, relates directly to his intervention to prevent the harassment of an off-duty police woman by a former boyfriend and then his efforts to prevent the police from arresting the wrong person because the officer jumped to the wrong conclusions. He has also stated that there was no physical contact between him and any officers and that the assault is understood to refer to a verbal altercation.
Bryan (34), who ran for office in George Town at the last election and had a promising political career with the Progressive government, will now spend the next six months awaiting his fate as a result of the prosecution.
Although a political appointee and not a civil servant, Premier Alden McLaughlin revealed in the Legislative Assembly that he had suspended Bryan following the charges against him, saying he felt it best to follow the protocol laid out by the Public Service and Management Law as there were no rules relating to political appointments.
Since the charges were laid, support for Bryan from party members has been thin on the ground. At his last appearance in court Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush was there to support him but no one from the Progressives was present. Bush has asked why Bryan is facing criminal charges for a verbal assault on a public official while Cabinet minister Osbourne Bodden is not facing any consequences for his loud and well publicised verbal attack on his former chief officer, Jennifer Ahearn.
However, on Tuesday PPM party stalwarts Chris and David Wright were there to offer support for Bryan as he answered the charges.