Bahamian Government legislator pleads not guilty in rape and assault case

November 9, 2023  -Bahamian Government legislator Kirk Cornish has been released on bail amounting to US$9,000 and is scheduled to return to court on November 16 after pleading not guilty to a series of serious charges.

Cornish, 48, pleaded not guilty to charges of rape, assault and threatening to kill a woman earlier this year.

Denial of allegations

Appearing before Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson, Cornish vehemently denied all allegations presented by the prosecution.

The charges against him span the period from January 20 to April 4.

According to the prosecution, Cornish is accused of raping the 35-year-old woman on two separate occasions, with the threat of violence occurring on April 4.

Additionally, he faces allegations of assaulting her on January 20 and again on March 25.

Origins of the accusations

The allegations came to public attention in August when the police issued a statement regarding the incident.

The statement read, “preliminary reports indicate that around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7, 2023, a 35-year-old female … reported to police that she was sexually assaulted and threatened by a male known to her.”

Cornish’s response

Cornish responded to the accusations by categorically denying them and asserting that they are based on false allegations.

He expressed confidence that the facts that emerge during the judicial process would vindicate him.

“I am confident that the facts that emerge during the judicial process will prove my innocence. I look forward to ending this nightmare. The facts will show that this was a breakup manipulated and exploited for political reasons – and nothing more,” he said.

Resignation and political impact

In the wake of the allegations, Kirk Cornish resigned from his position as Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister in August.

Prime Minister Phillip Davis disclosed that an independent Director of Public Prosecutions had determined there was sufficient evidence to bring charges against the legislator.

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