CCTV sets the scene for crown’s case against Bush

| 20/02/2024
McKeeva Bush arrives at court

(CNS): In court on Tuesday, several pieces of CCTV footage were shown of McKeeva Bush MP (WBW) in September 2022 at the Caribbean Tourism Organization cocktail party at the Ritz-Carlton, where, according to the crown’s case, he assaulted two female civil servants. The footage shows both the women that Bush, who was at the time speaker of the House of Parliament, is accused of indecently touching.

But while jurors were able to see the alleged assault of the first complainant, the crown said the second complainant was assaulted off-camera in a blind spot.

The CCTV evidence was presented by Detective Russell These, who had drafted the warrant to retrieve the footage of the event from the Ritz and then put together the video that was used in court.

It shows Bush arriving and greeting the first complainant, who was at the event in her capacity as a government worker, and how he touched her. Despite her efforts to pull away, the video shows Bush holding onto or retaking her arm in an awkward manner a number of times before kissing her bare shoulder.

Because there were a number of international guests at the party, including leaders of regional countries, a police officer was present as part of the security protocol. The video shows that, at that point, he approached Bush, put a hand on his back and talked with him, which gave the complainant the chance to move away.

The footage has no sound so it does not reveal what was said in this exchange. However, soon afterwards, Bush left the area and headed towards the bar. The woman who, according to the crown’s case, had been assaulted is then seen talking with the same police officer before approaching her husband and engaging in a conversation with him.

Meanwhile, Bush is seen moving through the cocktail party, chatting with and hugging various women. Then he disappeared from the camera view because the bar was in a CCTV blindspot, but sometime later, the footage shows the arrival of Cline Glidden, his friend and former political colleague.

The video shows that Glidden headed to the bar area, where he also disappeared from the camera view for a while. Then he is seen guiding Bush outside onto the terrace and taking him to a more secluded dark area away from the other guests, where he chatted with him alone for about twelve minutes.

Glidden then moved back inside. Bush remained outside for a few minutes more before he also went back into the hotel and was again outside the CCTV view.

At that point, the camera footage picked up the second complainant, showing her chatting with another woman before she, too, headed to the blind spot of the bar area. According to the crown’s case, during this time, she was assaulted by Bush. Although this was not caught on video, the crown contends that Bush sucked and bit the woman’s arm in a “boorish and uninvited” manner.

The CCTV footage shows that moments later, Glidden returned and, as he raised his arms, headed to the area where Bush and the second victim were said to be. He was followed by the police officer who had spoken with Bush following the alleged assault of the first woman.

After this, Glidden is again seen guiding Bush outside and away from other guests. The footage shows Glidden attempting to steer Bush, who was carrying a drink, out of the party, even as Bush continued to stop and chat with guests and hug various other women.

With the help of another woman, who was not identified by the crown, Glidden eventually ushered Bush out of the cocktail area and towards the hotel’s main lobby and the exit, even as he tried to shake off Glidden and the woman who was assisting.

Charles Miskin KC, who is prosecuting the case, has stated that Bush had been drinking and appeared to be drunk that evening. However, he made no reference to Bush’s inebriation as he questioned the detective about the footage.

On Tuesday, the jurors were also taken on a site visit to the Ritz ballroom where the cocktail event was held and were shown the cameras, the locations that were in the blind spots, and the places where Bush is said to have assaulted the women.

The crown has indicated that the CCTV evidence was presented before the complainants’ testimony on Wednesday so that when they say what happened, the jury has a full understanding of where they and Bush and other witnesses were and who was doing what during the time when the alleged assaults occurred.

The case continues.

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