Ilhas Cayman, Cayman Compass, Inglês


Cayman Islands Law Courts, Cayman News Service
Law courts sign looking out over Heroes Square

(CNS): A Jamaican woman who was convicted of wounding in 2022 following a brawl at the beauty parlour where she worked was acquitted by the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal on Friday as a result of the behaviour of her defence lawyer. Aisha Jamilah English (33), who was found guilty of stabbing a colleague, appealed last year on the basis that she had been sexually harassed by her attorney, Keith Myers, and because she had refused his advances, he had not properly represented her or followed her instructions at trial.

English was convicted in September 2022 and sentenced to 21 months in jail. In her appeal, she made allegations based on a series of sexually charged and inappropriate messages, or “sexts”, that Myers sent to her when he was working on the case, which she had saved and submitted as part of the appeal, originally filed last year.

On Friday, when the case finally came before the appeal court, senior prosecuting counsel Scott Wainwright told the higher court that the crown was not resisting the appeal because the messages spoke for themselves.

He said that the crown could have mounted an argument against some of the grounds for overturning the conviction, namely that Myers had not, as she had instructed him to do, argued that she had acted in self-defence, as this had been raised during the trial. But he said the inappropriate messages served to support English’s claim that she had been sexually harassed by her attorney.

Wainwright said the crown was not in a position to challenge her broader claims that she was not properly represented and that Myers did not prepare for the trial or follow her instructions. He also said a retrial was not in the public interest since English had already served some six months of a 21-month term.

Not all of the messages from Myers or the extent of his alleged inappropriate behaviour were read out or detailed in the appeal court. However, Simon Csoka KC, the UK attorney who represented English during the appeal, outlined some of the communication for the public record. The defence lawyer had used a number of clear euphemisms that suggested his sexual interest in his client, even when she was expressing her discomfort and concern that if she didn’t do as he wanted, he would not properly represent her.

Csoka, who was instructed by local attorney Denis Brady, told the panel of justices that before Myers saw the messages that English had saved and passed on to the crown, he had submitted an affidavit under oath. Despite the content of the messages he had sent, which were clearly inappropriate and sexually charged, he refuted the accusations and said he would not “give credence to such filth”, nor would he give the claims “any legs to stand on”.

The appeal court justices told the crown counsel that he had “made the right decision” before they told English that the case against her had been dismissed and she was free to go. They also confirmed that they would complete their written judgment outlining their reasons for allowing the appeal before the end of this current session.

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