QC court defers arraignment of American cager Cornley
MANILA, Philippines–A Quezon City court deferred Tuesday’s scheduled arraignment of American basketball player Jamelle Cornley, who allegedly trashed a hotel then punched the policeman trying to arrest him for the disturbance last month.
Judge Maria Gilda Pangilinan of QC metropolitan trial court branch 31 briefly made an appearance to announce to a crowd of litigants in the courtroom that all scheduled hearings for the day, including that of Cornley, would have to be reset.
The deferment of all hearings, Pangilinan explained, was to pave the way for the encoding of all cases for the electronic court system that the Supreme Court is planning to launch at the Quezon City hall of justice by next month.
Quezon City was chosen by the high tribunal as the pilot area for the electronic program.
When Cornley’s case for direct assault and alarm and scandal was called, neither the cager nor the private complainant, PO2 Anselmo Lazatin, was present.
The court scheduled the next hearing to May 21 where, apart from the arraignment, Pangilinan is anticipated to resolve a request by defense lawyer Lino Dumas that his client be allowed to undergo a preliminary investigation.
In his “very urgent motion for the conduct of preliminary investigation,” dated April 5, Dumas said that the direct assault and alarm and scandal charges against the 25-year-old Cornley only came out of inquest proceedings.
Inquest prosecutor Leandro Raul Gonzales had initially recommended the filing of the charges against the prized import of the Philippine Basketball Association which were subsequently approved by assistant city prosecutor Rogelio Velasco.
Dumas invoked his client’s right to undergo a preliminary investigation but cited no specific reason for the request.
On March 27, Cornley was arrested by operatives of the Quezon City Police District Kamuning station after he allegedly caused a disturbance at the Sir William’s Hotel along Timog Avenue in Barangay South Triangle.
The basketball player claimed losing $1,400 in cash to three women, whom he had checked in earlier at the hotel. He immediately went down to the lobby where he demanded that hotel officials help him identify the women so that he could get his money back.
When the hotel staff told him that they did not know who his companions were, he threw a fit and destroyed a vase, a desktop computer and the glass doors of an in-house videoke bar.
When PO2 Lazatin arrived at the scene, Cornley, in a drunken rage, allegedly assaulted him.
Cornley played as a forward for Pennsylvania State University’s Nittany Lions and had stints as a cager in France, Israel, and Argentina before being brought in last year as an import by the PBA’s Rain or Shine Elasto Paint team, which he led to win the governor’s cup.
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