The Connecticut banker charged with manslaughter over the death of an Anguillan hotel worker may not face trial for three years, according to a new report.
Scott Hapgood, 44, attended a brief court hearing on Thursday, but The New York Post says he may not learn his fate until 2022 due to a lack of magistrates on the tiny Caribbean island.
Hapgood previously claimed he was hoping for a quick trial to learn whether or not he will face jail time for killing Kenny Mitchell, 27, inside his family’s hotel room at the upscale Malliouhana resort on April 13.
Hapgood says he acted in self-defense when Mitchel showed up unannounced at the room before he produced a knife and attempted a robbery.
The UBS banker fought with the hotel worker, who eventually died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma.
On Thursday, the case was adjourned until September 9 – but a source tells The New York Post it could be the first of several delays.
The New York Post reports that it may be up to three years before Scott Hapgood (left) faces trial over the death of Anguillan hotel worker, Kenny Mitchell (right)
There are only two magistrates who hear cases in Anguilla, with the insider telling the publication ‘their dockets are usually booked up’.
Once the case finally reaches one of magistrates, they will decide whether or not the it should go before a judge or be dismissed.
If the case proceeds, there is only one judge on the island, and he generally only hears cases in October and March of each year.
Thursday was the first time Hawgood appeared in court since being charged with Mitchel’s death.
The father-of-three flew into Anguilla from New York for the brief hearing accompanied by bodyguard.
Hapgood is pictured speaking outside court on Thursday following a hearing in Anguilla. He told reporters he was committed to proving his innocence. Hapgood is charged with manslaughter
Speaking outside court, Hawgood spoke briefly with reporters, where he lambasted the courts for not letting them get on with the trial sooner.
‘I’m grateful for the opportunity to appear in Anguillan court today because every court appearance means we are one step closer to putting this nightmare behind us.
‘A nightmare for my family but also for the people of Anguilla. We came to your beautiful island for a vacation just like many thousands of others do each year.
‘We came here because of how welcoming you all are. Unfortunately, my family and I were in the wrong place at the wrong time and in an instant, a tragedy resulted which has changed our lives forever.
Hapgood killed Kenny Mitchel in front of his two daughters. Despite his fears over the fairness of his impending trial, he has ‘no choice’ but to put his faith in the justice system
‘We all want the same thing – justice. For me that means proving my innocence. To that end, I ask the AG to bring a case swiftly so we all can move on and heal.
To the people of Anguilla. I understand your anger. ‘I have read the same false facts and untrue stories about what allegedly happened in that room on that fateful day in April. If I lived here and believed those stories, I’d be angry too.
‘We will continue to be trapped by delays when all we want is to present the evidence to conclusively prove my innocence,’ he said.
In a message to the island’s residents, he continued: ‘Lastly, to the people of Anguilla. I understand your anger.
‘I have read the same false facts and untrue stories about what allegedly happened in that room on that fateful day in April. If I lived here and believed those stories, I’d be angry too. But the stories you’ve read and heard are not what happened and someday I’ll be able to tell the real story in a legal setting.
‘The sooner that day comes the better.’
Mitchel’s relatives attended the hearing. His brother spoke to reporters outside, saying: ‘I wish Mr. Hapgood good luck. I wish him good luck with his lies.’
There were no cameras inside the courtroom.
Police say that Hapgood’s two young daughters were in the room at the upscale Malliouhana resort (above) when Mitchel died
The UBS banker claims the killing was in ‘self-defense to protect the lives of his young daughters and himself’ and is seen here with scratches and what the family say are bite marks
After appearing at a Manhattan press conference on Tuesday where he said he was surprised by his arrest and had acted in self-defense, Hapgood flew back to Anguilla on Wednesday.
Hapgood was with his two young daughters in his hotel room at the upscale Malliouhana resort on April 13, when he alleges employee Kenny Mitchel, 27, pulled a knife and tried to rob them after claiming he came to the room to fix the sink.
He says he fought off Mitchel and killed him in self-defense, which has left his family ‘hanging on by a thread’ but says, ‘I would do it again and thank God I was in that room when he came,’ during a Tuesday press conference.
‘I wish the trial was today,’ he admitted to The NY Post on Wednesday. ‘I wish the facts were coming out today so I could move on with my life.’
Hapgood and his international attorney Juliya Arbisman traveled to the Caribbean island of Anguilla this week in order to meet his bail conditions.
He had just returned from the island Monday before returning two days later.
‘I wish the trial was today,’ Hapgood admitted to The Post on Wednesday. ‘I wish the facts were coming out today so I could move on with my life’
At the airport, Hapgood was accompanied by a security guard and said the Royal Anguilla Police Force would also be providing him with additional security.
The announcement followed Hapgood’s claims that he’s faced threats since the killing and has been frustrated by his dealings with the local judicial process and the local government.
The UBS financial adviser was arrested and charged with manslaughter four days after the attack and was held at Her Majesty’s Prison in Anguilla after he was denied bail.
‘I’m surprised by the arrest,’ Hapgood reflected to the Post Wednesday. ‘I was innocent from day one.’
At a press conference, he said he was surprised he had been arrested. He is pictured with lawyer Juliya Arbisman
He was later released on $74,000 bond after his attorney appealed to the High Court in a move that sparked anger among Anguillans, who claimed he was receiving special treatment because he’s a wealthy tourist.
They demanded that he return to face justice in the British territory of nearly 15,000 people.
‘We want the same thing as the people of Anguilla: for the truth to come out,’ Hapgood said. ‘To that end, I will fully comply with the requirements of the court to ensure that all the facts are presented.
‘A great deal of misinformation and outright falsehoods have surrounded this story, and I am hopeful that when the real story is presented to the public, the people of Anguilla will understand how this tragic event unfolded.’
Arbisman says that she worries about Hapgood’s ‘ability to get a fair trial’ and says despite reports from the island, does not believe he’s received special treatment for being American.
‘We’re urging prosecutors and law enforcement to work with us to ensure a safe, fair trial.’
Arbisman claimed that prosecutors withheld Mitchel’s toxicology report for two months.
It was revealed Monday the toxicology report showed Mitchel tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and other drugs at the time of his death.
The report also concluded the 27-year-old father-of-one had a blood alcohol level of .181, which is more than double the legal limit in the US and UK.
It’s also been revealed that just a month before his April 13 death, Mitchel was arrested and charged with raping his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child Emily Garlick.
The case was pending at the time of his death but Garlick, who moved from the UK to Anguilla, told the New York Times that the incident was a ‘misunderstanding’.
‘It wasn’t a rape,’ Garlick said. ‘It was a misunderstanding. We had a spat. We had a disagreement. That was it.’
A Hapgood family spokesman said in response to the news: ‘It has been shocking to learn that the man who violently attacked Scott and forced him to defend his life was out on bail for a rape charge and intoxicated at the time on a potentially lethal combination of illegal narcotics.’
‘It’s certainly the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced,’ Hapgood said. ‘Not just the attack but the way I was treated on the island, the time I spent in jail.’
Mitchel had been arrested and charged with raping ex-girlfriend and mother of his child Emily Garlick, who later called the incident a ‘misunderstanding’ and said it was not rape
The family said in a statement in May that Hapgood was ‘fighting for his life’ and was bitten multiple times in the confrontation.
According to the spokesperson, Mitchel showed up to the family’s room ‘unannounced in uniform’ and claimed ‘he was there to fix a broken sink before carrying out his sudden, violent attack on the family’.
‘All that I did was defend my young daughters in front of an attacker that was crazed and desperate and I have to just hold onto that fact,’ Hapgood said.
‘This has been my first experience with legal matters, so I’m very nervous,’ Hapgood added. ‘But I know that my family were victims.’
He thanked his family and legal team for supporting him and for ‘staying so strong throughout this process.’
‘We have a long road ahead of us, but I’m looking forward to someday getting back to the life we once had,’ he said.