Bush didn’t ‘intend to cause me harm’ says witness

| 23/02/2024

(CNS): One of the women who was, according to the crown, indecently assaulted by McKeeva Bush MP at a cocktail party in September 2022 told the court Friday she didn’t believe he had intended to cause her any harm. When he bit and sucked on her hand giving her what she termed a ‘hickey’ he had done so accidentally. As the second woman in the case against Bush was cross examined by his attorney, she made it clear that while she believed he had “crossed a line” and his behaviour was inappropriate it didn’t amount to a crime.

The court heard how the woman had told her government bosses, colleagues and police that she did not want to pursue a complaint against Bush. Had she felt that he had committed a crime against her she said she would have reported it to the police the night it happened. She told the court that she had given a full and truthful account on video to the police of what she remembered happened so that they were aware of her version of events.

She said that there had been some inaccurate stories flying around “in every direction” in the days after the cocktail party. Bush she said, was drunk and had behaved unprofessionally and even in her words “odd and creepy” but she was concerned that what other people were saying had happened to her was wrong. The witness told the jury that she felt “harassed” and was worried about “other people’s agendas” and wanted to document on the record what had happened from her point of view.

But she confirmed repeatedly that even though the behaviour was not welcome or appropriate in her view it did not amount to an act of indecency. Answering questions from Sallie Bennett-Jenkins KC on behalf of Bush the witness never once denied that she had not wanted to pursue a prosecution and had never given her formal consent for an investigation on her behalf.

“So you never asked for a police investigation?” Bennet-Jenkins asked the woman who replied, “That is absolutely correct.”

Standing by her comments that when Bush bit and sucked her hand it was “terribly disgusting” in her view it was not a crime. And that she had felt “awkward, uncomfortable and incredulous” but she did not feel she had been hurt physically or that the act was done to deliberately harm her. She stressed in various correspondence between her bosses and the police in the aftermath of the incident that her main concern was the impact Bush’s behaviour had more broadly.

The court heard that the woman had written to senior management about how Bush as Speaker of the House, could’ve embarrassed or caused harm to the government and the country given the type of event he was at when he did what he did. She pointed out that he was “extremely intoxicated” and there should be policies in pace to deal with that sort of situation and some form of intervention from that perspective but the woman was clear that she bore Bush “no ill will”.

Police officer Detective Dave Morrison who worked on this investigation alongside Chief inspector Richard Barrow also confirmed that throughout the inquiry the witness had stated she was not interested in pursuing a formal complaint against Bush. However, the director of public prosecutions had recommended charges including in relation to Bush’s encounter with that witness as there was other evidence supporting the woman’s account. He confirmed that when he told her she had been surprised to hear that he was being charged in relation to what had happened to her.

The case continues.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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