“You were combative, belligerent, volatile at times.”
(CMR) Magistrate McFarlane found Miss Cayman, Tiffany Conolly (24), guilty on all counts Thursday morning in Summary Court, calling her various stories and explanations not believable. Conolly was charged with six offenses in relation to a relationship gone sour.
Her charges included two counts of common assault for assaulting her ex-boyfriend and his father, two counts of property damage for damaging two vehicles belonging to the family, disorderly conduct at a police station, and assaulting a police officer.
The charges stem from an incident that happened on October 15, 2019, when Conolly allegedly attacked her ex-boyfriend and his family after their relationship ended.
The magistrate started with the first incident that occurred at a private residence in West Bay. Magistrate McFarlance noted that the victim, the father, who gave evidence, was a compelling and “excellent witness”. She found Conolly's story was not believable at all.
Magistrate McFarlane noted that she struggled to understand the circumstances that required her to go to the home of her former boyfriend. Conolly claimed that she was assaulted by the father upon him answering the door. However, the magistrate said that was not plausible because had it occurred that way, she would have had every opportunity to leave and contact the police.
Giving reasons for her guilty verdicts, the magistrate noted that she had no issues with the father's testimony and thought that his evidence was clear. She noted:
“No aspect (of his evidence) called his credibility into doubt. He was an excellent witness and his evidence could not be any clearer.”
The judge then considered the damage to both vehicles. The defense had argued that one of the vehicles belonged to Conolly and, therefore, she should not be charged for the damage to her own vehicle. However, Magistrate McFarlane noted her consideration under the Traffic Law and ultimately questioned why she would damage her vehicle.
She noted that Conolly threw a brick at the vehicle, and her later position that she still owned the vehicle as the former boyfriend was purchasing it from her was a “convenient explanation”.
The magistrate also noted that her story about how the father's glasses were damaged was simply “not plausible.”
Turning to the assault and disorderly conduct at the police station, Magistrate McFarlane confirmed that the throwing of the chair and the punching of the officer in her face were solidified in her mind based on the video footage that was available from the detention center.
She concluded, “looking at the footage made it very clear for me”.
Her defense of mental health was largely dismissed by the magistrate. She said:
“The fact that you may have been suffering from mental health challenges is not a license for you to behave in that manner. It looked like someone who was very angry about the position that they were in.”
The tape had evidence of her telling police officers, “F all of you”. Magistrate McFarlane also noted that her expectation of special treatment because of mental health issues was not correct. That partial defense did not hold much credence with the court at all.
Conolly was crowned Miss Universe Cayman last year but was not the representative at the pageant in January due to this matter before the court.
There was a public outcry last year after she was crowned, as many were upset that she was allowed to participate in the pageant despite having charges before the court.
However, while these concerns were raised, the Miss Universe committee defended her participation in the competition. She was reportedly allowed to retain her title and a monthly stipend of about CI$3,500 while on leave with the matter before the court.
Initially, the Miss Universe Cayman committee did not relieve her of her duties after she was charged. However, as more details emerged during the trial last year, the committee announced that the 1st runner-up, Chloe Powery-Doxey, was selected as the alternate to represent the Cayman Islands at the Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans on January 14, 2023.
Last year Conolly denied the charges when she appeared in court. She told the court she had a brain tumor and mental health issues which meant that she was not a regular citizen and should be treated differently.
A written judgment in the matter is expected to be delivered at a later date. She was found to be in breach of a probation order from previous court matters in 2019, and previous convictions previously not recorded would now fall away.
Attorney Oliver Grimwood noted a social inquiry report would be requested. The prosecution noted that a victim impact report would also be required. She is scheduled to return to court on April 20.