MIAMI (Miami Herald) - A Bahamian prosecutor put the rape case involving Florida International University baseball star Garrett Wittels and his two friends on a fast track Monday when he sent the case to the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
The next hearing date is scheduled for May 9 before Jon Isaacs, a Senior Justice in Nassau. The trial will not begin on that date, however, a court source said.
Basil Cumberbatch, an attorney with the Attorney General's Office, presented a bill of voluntary indictment to Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis on Monday morning, court sources told The Miami Herald. The bill allows the court to bypass a preliminary inquiry. Instead, the prosecutor forwarded the case directly to the Supreme Court.
The bill contains sworn statements from the witnesses regarding evidence in the case. Those affidavits will be forwarded to Isaacs and the defense.
The prosecutor's action "speeds up the case," one court observer told The Miami Herald. "It's done in the more serious cases," the source added. Rape charges in the Bahamas can mean a life sentence, depending on the injury to the victim. "You can get it, but you don't often get it," the source said of the life sentence.
In this case, two 17-year-old American tourists allege they were raped in December while staying at the Atlantis Resort and Casino on Paradise Island. Wittels and John Oberti are charged with one count of rape each. Robert Rothschild is charged with raping both girls. The men are out on bond. Their attorney, Wayne Munroe, said the men admitted only to consensual sex. In the Bahamas, the age of consent is 16.
Munroe did not return calls. Wittels' father, Dr. Michael Wittels of Bay Harbor Islands, previously said he only would discuss the case upon its conclusion. In December, he said, "Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time. He's not doing well, obviously. He's blown away. He's devastated that someone would accuse him of this."
Neither girl has been identified, nor has either made a comment to the press regarding the case.