Crown to ‘re-do’ charges against Marl Road owner

| 13/02/2020
Cayman News Service
Sandra Hill

(CNS): Charges against Sandra Hill, who has found herself in criminal court over allegations that she “bullied” local businessman Matthew Leslie on her website, Cayman Marl Road, and Facebook vlog, will be redrawn, the crown said in court last week. When she appeared in court, Hill (née Catron) pointed out that the charges on the indictment were technically incorrect because they fell under the wrong law, which has since changed.

She is formally charged with using an ICT network to abuse, annoy or harass and causing harassment, alarm or distress. Prosecutors claim that in February last year the Marl Road blogger used the network and social media to abuse Leslie. However, her attorney, Clayton Phuran, said that the charge, as set out on the indictment, was contrary to the 2017 ICT Law, which has since been updated.

“The offences are alleged to have happened in 2019, and the correct statute would be the 2019 law,” Phuran said, as he asked the court to quash the charges. He said that the relevant section had also changed, so it would not be appropriate to charge Hill under the section chosen by the crown. Furthermore, he accused prosecutors of overloading the indictment with two charges that are effectively the same.

Phuran said that for this reason, he requested the judge to quash the charges. “Of course, the prosecution can bring back the charges under the correct sections and statutes of the law, should they wish to do so,” he added.

Justice Philip St John-Stevens, who was presiding over the pre-trial hearing, opted not to quash the charges but to ask the crown to review the indictment and resubmit under the correct section of the correct law.

Hill made it clear that she wants the case to move quickly and that whatever the crown finally decides to charge her with she will contest the allegations at trial.

CNS understands that the details of what Hill wrote and said about Leslie on her website and FB page videos that led to criminal charges remain under a gag order imposed by the courts in a separate civil action.

Hill was bailed to return to court on 12 February.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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