(CMR) In a bid to further a bail application today a local attorney provided false information on Cayman Marl Road's (CMR) reporting in open court for a man who is accused of overstaying and possession of cocaine with intent to supply. The matter was before Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn early this afternoon:
Defense attorney Alex Davies of McGrath Tonner indicated in open court today that he had concerns about the accuracy of reporting by Cayman Marl Road of a court matter relating to his client, Guyanese national Whendel Stewart. In his submissions to the court, he shared that his client's ability to find persons to assist him with obtaining bail was proving difficult because of several stories on CMR.
However, Davies incorrectly informed the court that the information previously reported was obtained from Customs and Border Control sources because in his opinion it could not have been obtained in any other manner. Cayman Marl Road refutes the allegations that the information is inaccurate or that it came from CBC or police sources.
The implication being that CMR had inaccurately reported on court proceedings in relation to his client is completely unsubstantiated. The true position is that CMR has never attended any court proceedings before today and the statement that we reported on any court proceedings in relation to Stewart is inaccurate. In fact, the true position is CMR reported on Stewart being fully unaware of the fact that local authorities had separately begun a criminal case against him in Summary Court.
Davies speaking on behalf of his client vehemently denied the allegations first shared about him on CMR – claiming that his extensive history of criminality is completely false. This is despite the fact that those offenses were all detailed in criminal records out of the United States and available through a public records search.
Davies also erroneously stated that CMR is under “some sort of investigation” implying that there is a criminal investigation afoot about our reporting on this matter.
When approached outside of the court about these highly inflammatory and inaccurate remarks Davies indicated he was relying on instructions from his client and was not aware that CMR was in court today until we objected to his statements.
Speaking to CMR for this story, the reporting responsible for these pieces shared:
“CMR sources include publicly available records on Mr. Stewart. His criminal record in the United States is well documented and was even reported on in media in the United States. Furthermore, his more recent criminal activity was reported on in his own country of Guyanese. Additional sources included persons who knew him personally since his arrival on island. We are perplexed that a lawyer would stand up in open court and essentially lie to the magistrate in order to further a bail application for a man who has proven himself to be a career criminal. It seems to me that lawyers will do and say anything for money.”
Further explaining the importance of sources she shared:
“The audacity of legal council to seek to undermine the hardworking border control staff and erroneously state that they have provided information to CMR on a seasoned criminal on the basis of his client's instructions is disheartening. We have no contact with CBC staff in relation to this story and can ensure him that any reporting of matters in court is always accurate. Good citizens work with CMR on a daily basis to provide us with story leads.”
The DPP's office indicated they are awaiting DNA evidence and further joint intelligence reports. Stewart's bail application was adjourned and he remains in custody until his next court date on March 16.
There remains the question of how Stewart was able to obtain entry into the Cayman Islands with his record and some sources indicate there has been a failing of our regional partners in properly notifying Cayman.