Bush was ‘weird and creepy’ says assault victim

| 19/02/2024
McKeeva Bush in parliament, Cayman News Service
McKeeva Bush in parliament (file photo)

(CNS): McKeeva Bush MP (WBW) was described by one of the women he is accused of indecently assaulting as “weird and creepy” when he bit and sucked her arm during a cocktail party at the Ritz-Carlton in 2022, a court heard on Monday. As Charles Miskin KC opened the crown’s case against the former premier of the Cayman Islands, he said that everyone was expected to be on their best behaviour at the official tourism event, but “the defendant was not” and had behaved “inappropriately and unlawfully”.

In a brief opening statement, Miskin, who has been instructed to act on behalf of the Office of Public Prosecutions, told the jury that the Caribbean Tourism Organization event was an important showcase for Cayman, but Bush appeared to be drunk.

The prosecutor told the jury how Bush had indecently assaulted the two women, both civil servants who were working at the event. He explained that the word assault did not mean that Bush had been violent towards his victims but that his behaviour was “boorish, unwelcome and involved uninvited touching” of the women.

Miskin said that in the case of the first woman, the jury will see on CCTV footage taken from the ballroom at the Ritz where the assault took place that, as the victim attempted to pull away from an awkward hug from Bush, he had kissed her shoulder.

As he did so, Bush spotted the man he knew to be her husband, who was also at the event, and commented that if he had seen Bush kiss her, “he wouldn’t like it”. This showed that Bush was aware of how inappropriate his behaviour was, the prosecutor said.

From that moment, as several people had seen the behaviour, efforts were made to get Bush removed from the event, which took almost an hour, but shortly before he left, he assaulted the second woman, Miskin said. He told the court that Bush had grabbed the woman’s arm and effectively bit and sucked on it, making a mark, behaviour that she also found awkward and odd and had described as “weird and creepy”.

This was not captured by CCTV, Miskin told the court. However, in addition to the victim’s evidence, there were witnesses to the assault, and the woman had shown the resulting mark to other people. The prosecutor said that Bush was on trial because of unlawful “abusive and entitled behaviour”, thinking he was above the law, and had shown a “profound lack of respect for the women”.

Miskin said it was an important case to demonstrate that, despite being a well-known public figure, Bush is not, as he may believe, above the law.

Miskin is due to call his first witness on Tuesday: a detective on the case who will present the CCTV evidence to the jury.

Most of Monday was taken up with preparations for the trial, including the unusual move by the court to direct that the four alternates (reserve jurors) will also serve until the evidence is complete. During the course of the day, one juror was excused because she was ill, and one of the alternates was moved on to the jury panel, now made up of five women and two men.

The reserve jurors will be kept separate from the panel unless they are called to serve because one or more of the selected jurors are unable to continue.

Bush is represented by Sallie Bennett-Jenkins KC, instructed by local defence attorney Dennis Brady. The case is being presided over by Justice Stanley John.

The case continues.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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