Wong awaits decision in 4½-year-old DUI case

| 26/07/2018 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The head of enforcement at the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration, Garfield Wong, was told Wednesday that Magistrate Grace Donalds will deliver a verdict next month in a DUI case against him that has dragged on for four and a half years. Wong was charged with careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and DUI following a crash in December 2013 on Shamrock Road. He pleaded not guilty to all charges, claiming that the other driver in the crash caused the collision, the machine used in the breath test that recorded him being well over the legal limit was faulty, and that he left the scene believing he had hit a pothole, not another car.

Following closing arguments on Wednesday, in which prosecutor Scott Wainwright summed up the evidence against Wong and Dennis Brady argued in Wong’s defence, the magistrate said she would deliver her verdict on 22 August.

Since Wong was eventually charged some five months after his arrest, the case has dragged through the traffic court for multiple reasons. The trial began 18 months ago but has been adjourned several times.

The crown’s case is that Wong, who was driving a Dodge Ram truck at the time, collided with a BMW travelling in the opposite direction. The accident reconstruction evidence showed that the woman driving the BMW had strayed over the white line, causing the crash.

However, Wong said that at the time it happened he was looking down in the well of the driver’s seat because he was trying to retrieve his cell phone, which had fallen down. Despite colliding with the car and damaging his own truck, Wong kept driving until he got home, by which time his badly damaged wheel had almost fallen off.

When police caught up with him, he was taken to the station and breathalyzed, and the machine recorded that he was almost twice over the limit. Wong disputed this, suggesting that he was not drunk but had acid reflex problems, that the machine was faulty and not properly calibrated because it had never been maintained, and that the officers involved in the test had lied under oath.

Brady also argued on Wong’s behalf that the entire case against his client was part of a plan to “get Wong” by the police officers involved due to his high-profile job.

The crown, however, said that Wong was involved in a collision in which the BMW was a write-off and where he had spent more than CI$1,500 repairing the wheel of his truck, making it hard to imagine he was unaware of being in the crash, even though his head was down looking for his phone.

The crown disputed that fact that any police had lied, noting that the decision to charge someone is made by the director of public prosecutions, not the police officers.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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