(CMR) Miss Cayman Tiffany Conolly took the witness stand and made outlandish claims during the continuation of her criminal case. She claimed that she was “attacked for no good reason” and denied all of the six allegations against her. Among other things, the court heard that she has a brain tumor and was upset that she “was being treated like an ordinary regular citizen” during her arrest.
“I was being treated like an ordinary regular citizen”.
Tiffany Conolly, Miss Cayman Islands Universe
Conolly had various excuses and explanations for her behavior, refusing to admit to any wrongdoing. All of this culminates as it appears that the Miss Cayman Islands Universe Committee has quietly scrubbed Conolly from most of its page as the first runner-up prepares for the international competition next year.
Conolly spent most of Monday afternoon giving her testimony in chief and the balance of Tuesday under cross-examination. Prosecutor Sara Lewis pressed Conolly to explain why she did not leave the scene of the incident after she claimed that she was the victim and was attacked unprovoked.
Conolly's explanation raised eyebrows in the court when she claimed that her case would not have been strong had she left and walked the five minutes back to her own home. She accepted that she could have left but explained that her state of mind was not reliable sharing:
“I was distraught, felt fearful, things I don't want to say might hinder them”. When pressed further for a logical explanation as to how that hindered her from leaving, she claimed that her boyfriend had access to or knew the whereabouts of a gun, and that made her fearful.
The prosecution's case is that she then went on to assault her former lover and damage several vehicles before being taken into police custody, where it is alleged then acted disorderly and assaulted a police officer.
She told the court that she stayed at the scene instead of leaving when she had a chance because her ex-boyfriend has access to a gun, and she felt fearful for her life. She was asked why she didn't call the police herself, given that she was just assaulted, as she claimed.
Apparently, he was on the phone with 911 when she then kicked him in his privates. When asked if the court is to believe that both the victim and several police officers are lying, she stopped short of calling them liars and instead replied, “their accounts do not match with mine.”
When cross-examined about the damage to two vehicles, she claimed that she owned one of them and was free to damage it if she wished. Apparently, she would go on to have a brief three-month relationship with the West Bay man after she sold him her vehicle. Despite the car not being in her name, she claims that because some money was owed on it, she still owned it.
When asked about her statement that “he (the boyfriend) was not going to get away with it and that she would take it out on the car”, she confirmed that she thought it was reasonable for her to put a concrete block through the windshield. The second vehicle was allegedly damaged when she lifted her bicycle and threw it on top of the vehicle – she denied that entirely.
Magistrate McFarlane inquired about the definition of ownership under the traffic law, and in his closing submissions, attorney Oliver Grimwood argued that she had an honest belief that the vehicle was hers and even if it was a mistaken belief once it was honestly held that was a lawful defense to damage of property.
When arrested by the police and asked to remove her jewelry, not only did she refuse to do so, but she also claims that she did not have to comply with the police because they did not tell her what she was being arrested for and she had no idea. She went on to state that there's a limit to what they can do/say:
“At that point, I had not been arrested.”
The magistrate noted to Grimwood there was clearly “a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of your client.”
Despite being deemed fit to be interviewed by a mental health professional, she said that did not mean that she was fit in all ways and she was not capable of acting like a law-abiding citizen. The prosecution alleged she struck the female police officer and was generally disorderly.
She also claims to have a brain tumor and mental health issues which means that she is not a regular citizen and should be treated differently. At one point, she said that if she were an alcoholic, she would have received special treatment. The prosecutor asked if she knew that for a fact, and she replied yes.
She calmly disputed the allegation that she was angry but instead described her behavior as being “frustrated”. Her attorney provides oral closing submissions, which will be followed by a series of written, oral submissions to be exchanged between the attorneys.
Although Conolly has had police run-ins and appearances before the court, she is still considered to be a person of “good character” before there were no convictions recorded against her.
Conolly has been permitted to retain the crown while receiving a government monthly stipend for around CI$3,500, according to well-placed sources. Despite receiving the stipend, she has been placed on leave where she will not be working, and it was recently announced that several others will fulfill her duties.
Conolly will learn her fate in court on February 9, 2023, when Magistrate McFarlane is expected to provide the verdict.