THE VALLEY, Anguilla, Wednesday November 13, 2019 – An international arrest warrant has been issued for an American banker who, claiming that he fears for his safety because of public outcry, has refused to return to Anguilla to face the court for killing a hotel worker.
Anguilla’s Attorney General Dwight Horsford said 44-year-old Scott Hapgood is now considered a fugitive and faces extradition to the small British Overseas Territory to face the court.
The UBS investment banker is facing a manslaughter charge, accused of killing 27-year-old employee of the luxury Malliouhana Hotel, Kenny Mitchel, during a confrontation while on a family vacation in April this year.
He was to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Monday, but Horsford said Hapgood’s defence team had notified local officials the night before that they had advised their client to not return.
“The letter further stated that this advice rested on concerns for their client’s safety and the fairness of the judicial process in Anguilla,” Horsford said in a statement released yesterday. “Both concerns are totally groundless.”
Governor Tim Foy, in a separate statement, insisted that the island was committed to fairness in the judicial process.
“He has no reason to doubt the fairness of the judicial process. The rule of law and respect for it are paramount in this territory, as in all constituent jurisdictions of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court,” Foy said.
“Throughout this process, we have kept a respectful silence to enable the court to go about its business — this is how we do things here. 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.”
But US media has quoted Hapgood’s spokesman Jamie Diaferia as saying that “it has become progressively apparent that Scott would not receive a fair trial in Anguilla”.
That is a position the island’s magistrate has dismissed, describing Hapgood’s court absence on Monday as “willful defiance”.
The US banker claimed that during the family vacation at the resort, a knife-wielding Mitchel entered the hotel room where he and his two daughters were, and demanded money. A violent struggle ensued and Mitchel ended up dead.
Hapgood was subsequently charged and remanded to prison, but was later released on $74,000 bail by the High Court. He has returned to Anguilla for court appearances on three occasions since being charged.
Positional asphyxiation was initially given as the cause of death for Mitchel, but toxicology resultsit later showed that the hotel worker had high levels of cocaine and alcohol in his bloodstream.