(CMR) Acting Magistrate Marlene Carter has ordered a retrial of Garfield Wong, Deputy Director – Port Operations at Cayman Islands Customs and Border Control DUI conviction.
The Grand Court’s decision was rendered after hearing the legal arguments over two days earlier this month for his acquittal for a 2013 DUI offense.
Wong a senior civil servant with almost 30 years with the immigration department and now CBC was initially charged with DUI, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Wong was initially acquitted on the more serious offense after Magistrate Grace Donalds found that the breath certificate was not admissible into evidence.
Wong was involved in a December 2013 accident on Shamrock Road where Wong’s Dodge Ram truck collided with a BMW. Both vehicles received significant damage, and the BMW was written off. Wong claimed to have not recalled the incident but did admit to having a few drinks earlier.
He left the scene of the accident and was later pulled over by a police officer who stated that he observed the truck had sustained substantial damage. He was arrested and breathalyzer found him to measure at.184. The legal limit in Cayman is .100.
Wong maintained the device has not been properly calibrated.
The Crown appealed the Summary Court’s decision to acquit him on the basis that the Summary Court magistrate erred in the decision that she was unsure if there were two persons in the room at the time the breath test was administered. The admissibility of the certificate was called into questions. Represented by Brady his attorney argued that there were inconsistencies in the Crown’s evidence and concerns about the officer’s actions that would make a conviction unsafe.
The court found that evidence must be relevant and admissible and the breath analyzer certificate met that criteria. The court must then determine the weight that evidence must be given.
Wong also initiated a cross-appeal against his convictions of careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident claiming that the conviction was based on speculation and not evidence. Legal submissions were that the Magistrate did not give sufficient weight to the lack of damage caused to his vehicle.
Magistrate Carter found that there was full consideration given to the damaged vehicle and the credibility of evidence given by the police officer. The court found no fault in her findings in the lower court. The court found she was best suited to assess the credibility of witnesses and the correct legal principles were applied.
Wong’s appeal against conviction was therefore dismissed and the Crown’s appeal was allowed with a re-trial being ordered at the Summary Court level.