News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, WEDS. Nov. 13, 2019: Anguilla’s Attorney General Dwight D. Horsford yesterday said it now considers the US-born banker accused of killing a hotel worker on the island, “a fugitive,” after he skipped a court appearance on the British Caribbean island territory on Monday.
AG Horsford said a bench warrant will now be sought from the High Court Judge shortly for the arrest of Darien, Connecticut resident, Gavin Scott Hapgood, in consequence of his “willful defiance of the High Court Order.”
When this is shortly obtained, it will be circulated through Interpol to police forces around the world, the AG added, while noting that other formal processes will now commence regarding the US citizen.
“The Crown remains determined to progress this case,” the AG stated. “It will do so – as it has since proceedings started – objectively, fairly, with full regard for the rule of law and the principles of natural justice, including the presumption of innocence. Hapgood’s decision to abscond will not allow him to evade justice.”
Hapgood is charged with the death of hotel worker Kenny Mitchel. Hapgood has said Mitchel came to his family’s hotel room back in April saying he needed to fix a sink. Once inside, he claims Mitchel reportedly pulled a knife and tried to rob him. Both reportedly got into a physical altercation and Mitchel later died.
Hapgood, 44, was scheduled to show up in court in Anguilla on Monday to begin the final segment of a series of sealed hearings known as a preliminary inquest, which was expected to last one week. At the conclusion, he would learn whether his manslaughter case would go to trial and be heard by a jury.
Hapgood’s spokesman Jamie Diaferia, of Infinite Global, said the hearing would proceed without Hapgood, who has a local attorney present.
“It has become progressively apparent that Scott would not receive a fair trial in Anguilla,” Diaferia was quoted as saying.
Hapgood had reportedly offered to appear by video link, which was rejected while his legal team had reportedly tried to obtain guarantees from Anguillan authorities that he would be protected upon his return and permitted to remain out on bail.
If Hapgood’s bail is revoked, he could likely be incarcerated for years while awaiting trial.
Meanwhile, Governor Tim Foy, in a statement Tuesday, said he agrees with the AG’s decision, noting that despite claims of fear for his life, Hapgood “…should have no concerns regarding his safety.”
“Anguillians are a law abiding and peaceful people as clearly evidenced during his previous court appearances,” the Governor added. “He should share my confidence in the Royal Anguilla Police Force and the arrangements made for his return – arrangements which his own legal team and visiting State Department officials complimented during his previous appearances.”
Governor Foy also had harsh words for the PR campaign that the Hapgoods have engaged in, in recent weeks adding: “We have not and will not engage in public relations shenanigans of the type we have seen – that is not how we do things. Hapgood has the right to fair judicial process and he will receive that.”