Bush’s sexual assault trial dates reset by the court

| 13/12/2023
Governor Jane Owen hands McKeeva Bush his PS appointment certificate

(CNS): McKeeva Bush (68), who was scheduled to face a jury this month on charges of indecent assault, will now stand trial in February, as on Monday the court rescheduled the first of two cases where the veteran politician is facing allegations of sexual assault. A trial in relation to an accusation of rape dating back more than twenty years has been set for June. The delays relate to Bush’s efforts to secure legal aid and what his legal team has argued is inadequate disclosure by the prosecution.

Bush was pushed out of the political limelight after he was accused of indecently assaulting two female civil servants at an official cocktail event during a regional tourism conference at the Ritz Carlton in September 2022 but recently returned to a government role.

While he now sits on the backbenchers, the West Bay MP is serving as a parliamentary secretary in several ministerial portfolios, including border control. He also hinted during the budget debate this week that he may not be done with politics yet, stressing the word “if” in relation to his previously announced plans not to stand in the 2025 election.

Following the recent coup in which the former Premier Wayne Panton was ousted and Bush’s long-term political ally Juliana O’Connor-Connolly was voted into the top job by the members of the former PACT alliance, in which Bush played a part, he appears to be reconsidering his potential retirement.

Given the serious nature of the charges he faces, his high profile in the community and his allegations that the prosecutions against him are politically motivated, he has been seeking a senior attorney to lead his legal team. Despite earning somewhere in the region of $200,000 per year, Bush has recently been openly pleading poverty, complaining that he could not afford his light bills, among other things, and is seeking legal aid to fund a King’s Counsel for the rape case.

Bush has emphatically denied all of the charges against him. He has argued that in the disclosure from the crown, there is evidence that the previous governor interfered in relation to the allegations in the indecent assault case, pushing the women involved to press charges when they had originally made no complaints about Bush’s behaviour that evening.

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