(CMR) Elvis McKeever (64) from Cayman Brac, who was charged after threatening public officials in a social media post, was freed on two charges Thursday after the Grand Court granted a stay of proceedings based on abuse of process in relation to jury selection.
McKeever's lawyer Prathna Bodden had requested the stay of proceedings, stating that her client would not get a fair trial with the present jury panel, which excluded persons from the Sister Islands.
She argued that “a trial would not be in the interest of justice” as he would not get a fair trial with a jury panel that was not randomly selected.
This case highlighted that people from the Sister Islands who qualify to serve on a jury are removed from the pool each year before the notices are sent out. However, the judge said that this practice, possibly implemented due to cost, was a breach of law.
Elvis arrested by armed units in Cayman Brac for threathening video
This is an unprecedented case, as before McKeever, no other defendant has questioned this process. Throughout the legal proceedings against McKeever, presiding judges reportedly asked that the jury selection process be fixed to include people from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
However, this was not done, prompting McKeever's lawyer to file an abuse of process application on behalf of her client, arguing that the jury pool process had been tampered with.
However, Orrett Brown, prosecutor, said he believed the defendant would receive a fair trial with the present jury selection. He asked that instead of a stay of proceedings, the matter be set for a further date to address the concerns. Mr. Brown said it was in the public's interest to prosecute McKeever.
On Thursday, the judge agreed with the defense and granted the stay of proceedings. McKeever can now only be tried if the crown successfully applies to lift the stay.
McKeever was charged with Dangerous Transmission and Use of an ICT Service to Defraud, Abuse, Annoy, Threaten or Harass concerning a video that was posted on social media. In the video, he made threats against government officials and members of the uniformed services.
McKeever, a candidate in the 2021 general elections, is known to have a very colorful personality. He is a video poster that is often shirtless and uses profanity in his videos.