Top cops exposed to law suits

| 17/12/2008

(CNS): The departure of the shortest serving Police Commissioner in Cayman appears to have been a direct result of his potential exposure to law suits arising out of the activities of theSpecial Police Investigation Team (SPIT) and Operation Tempura.  While the lack of indemnity insurance saw Royce Hipgrave take evasive action, the former Acting Commissioner David George (left) and the new Acting Commissioner James Smith may not be able to avoid their respective exposure to potential law suits arising from the investigation.

Since the revelation during Justice Alex Henderson’s Judicial Review, in which the warrants issued to search his home and office were quashed, that the Commissioner of Police of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service was directly responsible for SPIT because the officers had all been sworn in as special constables, the question now remains over both George and Smith’s own exposure to law suits. Most police services offer indemnity insurance to protect officers from any suits that could arise against them during the course of their work as a result of mistakes or accidents. CNS has been unable to confirm whether or not the current commissioner has been covered, if David George had any such policy or if indeed the RCIPS offers any kind of protection to serving officers.

According to one legal expert who spoke to CNS, even if the other officers are covered, if Henderson’s or Kernohans legal teams are able to demonstrate that the actions of SPIT led by Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger in suspending Kernohan and arresting Henderson were in bad faith, the indemnity would not cover the Acting Commissioner for responsibility.

The first of what is expected to be a number of claims for damages relating to Operation Tempura has already been granted a hearing by Sir Peter Cresswell when he quashed the search warrants issued by Carson Ebanks on behalf of SPIT. In that case George was an additional party and not a direct respondent but could still be liable. However, the risk for both commissioners will come if Henderson’s legal team, which is now seeking to have the arrest of Henderson quashed, is successful in that venture. At that point the commissioners may very well be directly liable to pay significant damages themselves.

On arrival Smith said he would be addressing the situation regarding Operation Tempura, for which he said he had full responsibility, and he would make an announcement as soon as possible. However, more than two weeks has passed and SPIT is still operating in the Cayman Islands despite calls from both the elected members of government and the community for him to wind up his investigation, which has so far revealed very little so-called corruption, and go back to the UK.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Twyla M Vargas says:

    IN SPITE OF THE CASE

    If I was the SPIT team, I would tread softly in trying to defend the arrest of Judge Henderson.  I fully believed that someone  somewhere in that team was poorly advised.  I say it again, do not take the people of Cayman kindness for weakness, we are intelligent yet very strange people ,  who  will drink with you but  will not get drunk with you.  Get what I mean.?

    To the SPIT team I say,  It takes a community to raise a child, and  A MAN to say I am sorry.  My one concern is would this have happened if Judge Henderson was English. 

    I always looked upon Judges to be menof God.  I could be wrong, but that was the way I looked at it.  So to Mr Henderson I say  "You will Heal"  Trust in GOD.  Christ was crucified, and it cost  $30.00 dollars, but what did Judas gain?.  He gained $30.00 and loosed his soul.

    God bless everyone, because we sure need it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Please, please stop referring to the "Top cop, or cops". It is a dreadful cliche, as I mentioned once before. The print media uses the expression: I thought you were above that.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is not clear what the second post has to do with the comments contained in the first post which made some sound observations and was not at all anti-expat. It goes to show that injuries and insults are often more imagined than real.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the person who wrote the previous comment should volunteer for the job!  This way nothing will ever go wrong again! Imagine a police force of pure Caymanian thoroughbreads!! What a dream!  I am sure corruption would be out the window in an instant!!

    Sir? Madam? why don’t you put your wise words in to action and start working both in the legal department, as Commissioner and as Governor too while you are at it?  Then you will no longer need these petty foreigners who clearly do nothing for this country.

    • Anonymous says:
  5. Anonymous says:

    The idea that these gentlemen (investigators) should return to the UK post haste is a welcome one. The only thing that was revealed in this farce is that the old colonial mentality still exists and that there is no respect for local institutions wherever they may be in the Overseas Terittories.

    It is really a shame that the Chief Investigator can so blatantly disrespect our judicial branch. He should be made to pay along with the Governor who sactioned such a petty investigation.

    This whole thing tells us something about our present Governor. He should also be investigated and perhaps asked to leave as I think his welcome in these Islands has long expired.

    Finally, the legal advisor should be disbarred as he appears to have been incompetent based on the lkegal advice he proferred.