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Kaycappa cleared on appeal of Mills assault

20 May 2008 - EPUK

A paparazzo photographer’s convictions for assaulting Heather Mills McCartney and her personal trainer have been quashed after she failed to attend court to give evidence at his appeal.

Jay Kaycappa, 32, who is also known by nine other aliases, had been found guilty by Brighton Magistrates Court and sentenced to 140 hours community service following a three-day trial last year. He was also fined £1,150.

Lewes Crown Court received a letter from Ms Mills’ doctor, stating that she was suffering from stress and was unable to attend the court. Prosecutor Dale Sullivan told the court that he had been unable to serve a court summons on Ms Mills because he was not sure where she currently was.

Giving evidence at the original trial, Mills had told the court that Kaycappa had placed his hand on her shoulder to forcibly turn her round while photographing her in a Brighton subway. She said the assault had left her with lasting damage to a vertebra requiring continuing treatment from a chiropractor.

In finding Kaycappa guilty, the court had ruled that Kaycappa had “demonstrated persistence…beyond an acceptable level” but said that his actions had not caused any injury.

Electronic timestamps

In his defence, Kaycappa claimed that electronic timestamps on the files from his digital camera from that day proved his innocence, as there would have been no time in between frames to commit the alleged assault on Ms Mills.

A second photographer who was present in the subway at the time told the court that he did not see any assault take place.

But magistrates found Kaycappa guilty after hearing that he has 132 previous convictions for dishonesty. These included 62 convictions for fraud, as well as others including theft, burglary, destruction of a will, perverting the course of justice, obtaining property by deception, driving offences and misuse of a computer to disseminate a bomb threat.

Chair of the bench Juliet Smith had told Kaycappa that his evidence had been “confused and contradictory” while Lady Mills-McCartney had been a “credible” prosecution witness.

Foot and mouth breach

Last month Kaycappa was sentenced to 200 hours community service and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs after breaching cordons during the 2007 foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The court heard that Kaycappa, who appeared at South West Surrey Magistrates Court under the name James Purkiss, had been ‘belligerent’ when approached by animal welfare officers, and initially refused to comply with their requests.

After today’s hearing, Kaycappa’s barrister Justin Rivett said that his client was disappointed to not have proven his innocence with the digital photograph timestamps. He said: “I endorse his belief that he had clear photographic evidence that proved he didn’t commit the alleged offence on Ms Mills.”

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