Death five years after stabbing found unlawful

| 23/06/2022 | 12 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): A coroner’s inquest has found that the death of Wesley Clarke at the Cayman Islands hospital in 2017, five years after he was violently attacked, was unlawful. Clarke was stabbed in the neck at a party in June 2012 and shortly afterwards slipped into a coma, from which he never awoke. The jury found that the medical complication that caused his death was a direct result of the attack.

Chief Inspector Joseph Wright told the court on Thursday that it is unlikely the man police believe stabbed Clarke will ever be brought to justice. He explained that the only witness in the case refused to complete his evidence and Clarke never named his attacker before slipping into a coma.

Gary William Hurlston was charged with attempted murder and went on trial in April 2013. But halfway through, he sacked his attorney and engaged in a rowdy exchange in the court with the trial judge. The case was adjourned but it dragged on because of Hurlston’s issues with representation.

By the time a new trial was due to begin, the key witness refused to testify. Having seen Hurlston’s previous outburst in court, the witness left the jurisdiction, telling the authorities that he would not come back to give evidence again because he was afraid of what Hurlston might do to him.

As a result, Hurlston, who had been held on remand since the charges were laid against him, was released from prison. With no prospect of the witness returning and no other suspects or evidence, the case has gone cold, and Chief Inspector Wright told the court it was very unlikely that anyone will ever be prosecuted for the serious assault.

The police believe that Hurlston stabbed Clarke in the neck while the two men were involved in an argument at a late-night party in Windsor Park, George Town. Clarke was rushed to hospital but became comatose following surgery. He remained in a vegetative state for the rest of his life and was cared for at home, despite his continued decline.

In 2017 his carers became aware that he was having problems with his stomach and took him to hospital, where doctors operated. He died shortly afterwards as he was unable to recover from the procedure because of his state of health.

The finding of unlawful killing indicates that the jury believed that, although the ultimate cause of death was a problem with his abdomen, that medical problem was caused by his vegetative state and his inability to cope with and recover from the procedure, all of which was a result of the stabbing.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (12)

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  1. Rick says:

    Given that we have laws where the witness can give evidence and be examined remotely, why did we not arrange for that to be done? Is this another case of the prosecution not being engaged enough or was there other failings and we are merely hiding behind the witnesses weaknesses?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Track down the witness and subpoena them?
    They have a duty to society.

  3. Anonymous says:

    These coroners inquests are a waste of time and money..

  4. Raddy says:

    5 years to declare a man murdered.
    5 years.

    • Sad. Judicial system says:

      This is sad. A witness was testifying and the defendant intimidated the witness in from of the court and disrespected the judge. The court did not offer any protection to the witness such as testifying via zoom or video link or keep his identity secretive. Now you understand why people refuse to help the police.
      What a judicial system the Cayman islands have.
      They need to be an investigation into this matter Mr. Governor. This is not law and order and good governance.
      Please call for an enquiry into this mistrial.

      • Anonymous says:

        The prosecution pretty much gets away with any shortcomings by blaming the police (and they have their own failings) or finding some other weak excuse. No one seems to hold them to account. The court is similar. Not much accountability. Meanwhile, the public suffers.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Seriously? 5 years from stabbing to death and then another 5 years for an inquest? Just how slow are our world class civil service Franzie? Protecting and serving, my backside!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Has the prosecution ever heard of Zoom? Seriously, in this age of technology this was a poor excuse and they could have offered the witness that level of protection.

    • Anonymous says:

      Zoom is not the only app of its nature, surely you know this ..Miss Know It All!?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, but it’s the default one for court, so this poster is correct. Also, WTF does that have to do with anything?


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