American fugitive fears unfair manslaughter trial
THE VALLEY, Anguilla (CMC):
Premier Victor Victor Banks Tuesday said he remains ‘supremely confident in our judicial process” after the Office of the Attorney General described American Scott Hapgood as a “fugitive” for failing to return to the island for his scheduled court appearance in a manslaughter case on Monday .
In an address to the nation, Banks saids that he had been “very cautious in commenting on this matter since its inception because it is, first and foremost, a police matter”.
The 44-year-old American charged with manslaughter in the death of a hotel worker on the British overseas territory said that he feared for his life and that he would not be given a fair trial.
A spokesman for Hapgood said that the banker could not “return to Anguilla to clear his name” because authorities there “will not give him a fair trial or guarantee his safety”.
The spokesman, Jamie Diaferia, speaking on the US-based television station, CNBC, said that Hapgood’s legal team had worked to obtain a guarantee that he would return to Anguilla and be allowed to return to the United States on bail after the preliminary hearing ended. Diaferia said Anguillan authorities declined to give those guarantees and also declined Hapgood’s offer to appear at the hearing via a video link.
Hapgood is charged with killing 27-year-old Kenny Mitchel on April 13, a Dominican national, at the Malliouhana Hotel. Hapgood claims that Mitchel had entered his family’s hotel room under the false pretence of having been sent there to fix a broken sink.