Case adjourned as Bush mulls jury trial

| 21/03/2023
Cayman News Service
McKeeva Bush

(CNS): McKeeva Bush MP (WBW) did not answer charges against him when he appeared in court on Tuesday as his attorney, Dennis Brady, asked for one more adjournment to allow the former speaker time to consider where he wanted to stand trial. While Brady implied that his client was likely to plead not guilty to the two counts of indecent or common assault he faces, he said that since the charges can be heard in either Summary Court or Grand Court, Bush wished to consider the option.

If Bush elects to have his case heard in the higher court and he is found guilty, he risks a potentially higher sentence than if the case was heard in Summary Court. However, if the trial is in Grand Court, he can opt for a jury trial rather than having the case heard by a single magistrate in the lower court.

Magistrate Philippa McFarlane agreed to one more adjournment for one week but pressed Brady to ensure that progress was made on the case when Bush, who was released on bail, returns on 28 March.

Bush, who is understood to be suffering from increasing ill health, arrived at the court with the assistance of a walker. He made his way to the dock, where he spoke with Brady for a few moments but did not address the court.

Bush was charged with indecent assault or common assault in the alternative earlier this month following a police investigation into allegations that, while intoxicated at an official cocktail reception last September, he indecently assaulted two women. The function took place during the Caribbean Tourism Organization conference hosted by the tourism ministry.

Coming under increasing pressure, Bush finally resigned as a result of the allegations in October, but in his letter agreeing to step down, he denied assaulting anyone at the event. He said he resigned from his post as speaker because the allegations were “a national distraction” and to avoid controversy.

Since then, he has also indicated that he does not plan to run in the next elections to retain his seat in West Bay, which he has held for more than three decades.

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