(CMR) A man was almost sentenced to 30 days in prison today after his lawyer said he was star struct by seeing CMR reporter, Sandy Hill in court and decided to take her photo.
The judge appeared to want to send a very strong message today.
Chad Whyte was ordered held in the cell area this morning after he was caught by the court bailiff recording during court proceedings. This was a direct breach of s.39 Summary Jurisdiction Law.
Magistrate Foldats was not pleased with the discovery and ordered his phone immediately confiscated and had him taken downstairs where he was forced to unlock his phone for confirmation of its contents. Once the court security confirmed he had been recording in open court he was remanded in the cell area below the courtrooms with other criminals in custody.
His lawyer, Oliver Grimwood indicated that his client was apologetic to the court and he fully understood that any contempt of court is a serious offense and he did not seek to trivialize the matter.
However, in mitigation of his client's actions he did explain that it was done on a whim after being informed by his wife that CMR's Sandy Hill was in the dock. Hill who covered the court proceedings today was surprised that she was the subject of the photo taking fiasco and inadvertently became part of yet another court matter.
He further explained that he took the photo after his wife pointed her out in court and excitement got the best of him.
His lawyer explained that Cayman Marl Road is a popular media in Cayman and his client got excited to see her in court and the photo was not meant to be malicious in any way. He contineud, his client via him was apologizing both to the court and to Mrs. Hill.
Magistrate Foldats was not amused and indicated that it is “a significant breach of the stated procedures and signs are posted all over the courtroom” to prevent this sort of behavior.
The judge further noted that when a person takes a photo or recording they do so with the intent of sharing it and that was the mischief that the rules are aimed at. Magistrate Foldats explained that the court did not accept his position that he did not intend to disseminate the photo to others in some form.
The judge found that he did not, under the current law, have the powers to do very little other than up to 30 days in prison or a $50 fine. He felt the fine was not sufficient enough to convey the seriousness of the matter. He shared:
“contempt of court is a serious matter and is nothing new, it's there to ensure the court protects it proceedings and it empowers the court to ensure people's privacy interest are protected.”
The maximum sentence for this is 30 days but because he had recently started a job the judge showed some leniency and gave him one-day imprisonment and counted his time in the dock during the course of the day as the one day.
He was also made to delete the photo off his iPhone.
This allowed the matter to not interfere with the defendant's current employment.
The judge also spoke highly of Court Marshal Akeem Hydol who's keen eye observed the matter and brought it to the courts attention.
He pleaded guilty to the consumption of ganja charge in court today and will be back on January 27 for stencing and to finalize his others matters.
After the proceedings Whyte did speak with CMR and indicated he meant no disrespect and was indeed a fan.