Levers denies gossip claim

| 12/02/2009

(CNS): Details of the issues thatform the basis of Justice Priya Levers’ tribunal, revealed in The Caymanian Compass today (12 February), suggesting she gossiped about her colleagues have been emphatically denied by the Grand Court Judge, who says that she has never made any such public allegations about other members of the judiciary. CNS has learned that Justice Levers will be filing a full response refuting the accusations against her this Friday.

The Compass states in a front page story that it has seen a summary of the issues that the tribunal will hear accusing Justice Levers of starting rumours of sexual affairs, drug use and illegal gun possession among her judicial colleagues. Levers, however, categorically denies spreading any such public gossip or accusations. The newspaper also states that the Grand Court Judge has been accused of writing a series of controversial letters to another local newspaper, Cayman Net News, bringing the judiciary into disrepute – an accusation she also denies.

“While I do not believe in trial by press, I deny these allegations, and when my evidence is revealed on Friday it will become apparent that I have not engaged in any gossip mongering,” Justice Levers has said. The Grand Court Judge, who has considerable support among the local legal community, has also stated that she did not write any letters regarding the judiciary to Net News.

Sources close to the judge have said that, while she has never condoned undignified behaviour displayed by any members of the Cayman judiciary, she has certainly never been the source of any unsavoury gossip regarding them or how they have conducted themselves. CNS also understands that the statements on the issues that the tribunal will hear have already been amended regarding the "35 areas of complaint" against her, as stated in the Compass.

The Tribunal, which will be chaired by Sir Andrew Leggatt, is due to begin public hearings on 7 May. Justice Levers will be represented by leading UK barrister Stanley Brodie QC and Cayman attorneys Anthony Akiwumi and Wade DaCosta.

Since Justice Levers was suspended from her place on the bench speculation regarding the details of the tribunal have varied widely. Recently the focus has switched to the costs involved, particularly since the tribunal awarded the justice 75% of her costs up front, a point which Justice Levers’ legal team have said is particularly significant.

Sources have also suggested that the tribunal may expose uncomfortable revelations for some members of the judiciary, as the details of the so-called rumours, which Levers denies making, are discussed in a public forum.

One local lawyer told CNS that while Levers may not be the source of the gossip, some of the accusations that have allegedly been made have circulated among the local legal community for some time. If any them were to be proven, the local judiciary, which is already reeling from the unlawful arrest of Henderson, could face further serious disruption. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You are right the  conduct of a judge or judges are what we should be concerned about. Personally I am more corcerned if there is a hint of drug use or the illegal movement of firearms than someone who may or may not be just another discusting gossip in Cayman. All 3 things are wrong and should be punished.

    • Anonymous says:

      The writer, too, is right re wanting to know if thre is a hint of drug use or illegal movement of firearms — of course that would need to be investigated — but that is not what is being invesitgated.  Those allegations, according to the reports that came out on Friday, were what were said to be untrue and being gossiped around.

      So, they are not investigating that — if there were any evidence to that, then those charges and the persons involved would be the subject of that investigation.  There is nothing in the newspaper reports to suggest that there is any truth to the gossip.

      In fact, the reports allege that it is being denied that any of this was being gossiped about in "public."

      Surely, those in law enforcement, such as a judge, would know what steps to take if there were any proof that such allegations were true.

      Let us try to think things true, rathr than jump to conlcusions.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can’t help but feel that she angered someone by not ruling the "right" way.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think that you are missing the point. We want to know if the gossip is true or not no matter who spread it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t worry, the truth will eventually come out and as the saying goes "then the s#$t will hit the fan"!

    • Anonymous says:

      To "missing the point" — knowing whether it is true or not will come out soon enough.  That is what the hearing will deal with.

      But perhaps you are missing the point — the focus of this matter is the conduct of a judge.  Your personal objective is immaterial right now.

       

  4. Johhny Bwoy says:

    Mr Evans seems to Know alot and seem to have alot to say about everything. Yet he can’t seem to bring himself here or refuses to give evidence in a Cayman court of law. I am no fan of mr Seales mind you. However  it is him and his little friends that have brought this troubling situation into fruition here. And now it is cost us Caymanians millions to get to the bottom of it. Some advice Put up of shut Monsieur Jones. Oh why don’t ask your friends the old George Bush election Quote "are you  better off now than you were 4 years ago" i am sure you will get a positive response unlike the response to your Summons to appear in Court here.

    • John Evans says:

      Johhny Bwoy I’ll make pretty much the same reply as I just made to another comment  – it’s not safe for me to return and that’s somerthing every law-abiding Caymanian should be very concerned about.

  5. whodatis says:

    Honestly, the state of Cayman today greatly depresses me.

    The nation is suffering from a high number of qualified yet unemployed young local people, violent crime is at an all-time high, road-rage is rampant (research the deep-seeded reasons behind regional / national road rage and you will understand the relevancy), our 2 main industries are both at risks never experienced before – yet here we are investing these amounts of money and attention into matters such as this.

    I lived in Europe / UK for a number of years – and even year long intense investigations of government ministers did not cost anywhere close to the cost of investigations being carried out in the Cayman Islands…and yes that IS taking into account the difference in currency.

    I’m fed up and tired. Cayman just doesn’t get it – their priorities have been in the wrong places for far too long now.

    Good luck.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It should be of a greater concern if any of the gossip was true or not regardless of who spread it. I for one would want to know if judges are moving guns in and out of the islands(even if only for personal use). If there is a hint that there is drug use then that should also be investigated.

    Compass also mentioned that part of the problem was that she tended to rule more in favor of men in family matters. Does this not mean that there should also be an enquiry in to those that rule in favor of women more often also? Could it simply that the judgements were honest ones based on the evidence? All of the judges that are secret society members should have to publish a declaration and recuse themselves from cases pertaining to society "brothers"!

    I maybe wrong but at this point it seems that her biggest mistake, if any was noticing  the  600lb gorilla in the room.

    • Twyla M Vargas says:

      SOCIETY BROTHERHOOD

      Society brother hood ?     I know exactly what you mean,  Point is well taken,  but its much too late for that in Cayman my friend.  Trust me, Cayman is Over the wall and in the deep blue sea with curruption of every walk of life.  You want to feel good, only put your trust in GOD, you have nothing to loose, nothing at all  only alot of peace of mind, and believe me it is the only chance we got left. stay blessed

  7. Anonymous says:

    I agree…I would have thought it was far more important to figure out if our judges were drug users and guilty of gun possession than to persecute the person who talked about it.

    Secondly, if the statement of issues has already been amended, why has the compass only told us about what is in the old version? They hadn’t even mentioned that there was an amendment. Who knows what charges could have been thrown out by now? Smacks of laziness in its reporting.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Gossip is never done publicly — that is why it is so dangerous.

    • Anonymous says:

      If we are going to have a million dollar tribunal enquiry every time a public official allegedly engages in private gossip then we are in very serious trouble as a country. We seem to be in the theatre of the absurd. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately, a great deal of damage can be done by gossip — we live in a small community, and if we spread malicious gossip — information that we cannot prove but whcih is damaging to individuals  — even privately — that is where gossip is done — we do contribute to damage to institutions and to individuals.

        It does not take long for privately shared views and opinions to become part of the public fabric — hence perhaps the fact that these stories were circulating among the legal profession for some time.  And you know those "urban legends" on TV — pretty soon everyone believes it though no one knows where it came from and how it got started — or even wonder if there is proof.

        Already we see the effect to today’s news reporting about allegations about guns — we already have someone saying that they do want to hear about judges having guns — and that allegation is among those that apparently are in the charges to be considered in this hearing as part of untrue gossip!!. 

        How easy it is for us to be ready to believe what we hear — particularly when it comes from sources to which we normally credit credibility and accuracy, that is, newspapers (even when they themselves make it clear that they are only allegations) and, yes, judges, even when they say in private things they would not dare say it in public,

        Aside from that, we really need to think about the standards for judges as opposed to us ordinary mortals.  Judges just simply are expected to have higher stardards — the profession they have chose — as the arbiter over us ordinary mortals — just simply requires them to rise above some of these human failings — at least to appear to do so — and that includes not joining into malicious gossiping. 

        Judges need to be more careful as well because we do expect those higher standards.  People expect judges to be such gaurdians over what cometh out of their mouths to the point that they believeth judges whenever they speaketh.  If we can’t trust the reliablility of a judge, who can we trust?

        If I go into court, I need the judge to be able to rise above all the complexities of human nature so that his or her judgement can be relied upon in the face ofall the failings among defendants, witnesses, prosecutors, defense lawyers, etc. 

        If a judge is known to be a gossip, which in this case is as yet an unproven allegation, what can people be expected to infer from that?

        And by the way if the letter writing allegations are true, then some of this could have been making its way into the public domain directly — under the shield of use of nondeplumes, as alleged.

         

  9. John Evans says:

    The letters are referred to in the Compass as follows – “Further assistance on the letter’s authorship has been sought from Editor in Chief of the Net News, Desmond Seales, the document states, but he responded that the originals of the correspondences have been discarded and he is, at present, unable to assist further.”

    Mr Seales was made aware of doubts about the validity of the contents and authorship of these letters by both Lyndon Martin and myself when concerns were first raised back in 2007.

    Whilst the identity of the author was never revealed, the fact that the originals have conveniently been discarded when it was clear there might be a formal investigation into their source speaks volumes.

    • Twyla M Vargas says:

      ATE THE EVIDENCE

      A few years ago, could have been twenty  or less there was a case before the Courts in Cayman whereby a man was charged because he had chopped up another man,s pig.

      The defendant was charged and the matter went  before the court.  When the Judge asked the police and defendant for the evidence of the charge, the Complainant replied "I ATE IT"

      Subsequently there was a no case to answer. 

    • curiousgeorge says:

      Mr John Evans,

      Did you raise these concerns about the authorship before or after you broke into his office!!!

      • John Evans says:

        In reply to curiousgeorge –

        Lyndon Martin and I had raised the issue of the authorship of the letters (which, incidentally, I believed at the time were being written by someone at Net News) with Mr Seales long before the events that lead to Operation Tempura. We warned the publisher that the letters potentially represented contempt of court and that their authorship was suspect. Despite this their publication, and the use of other letters bearing clearly false names, continued.

        And, for the umpteenth time, it was not a break in and referring to it as such is libellous.

        • Anonymous says:

          Mr Evans:

          I respect the fact you use your own name but there are still many things about the whole Evans/Henderson thing that bother a lot of us. So simple questions: Were you buddies as people who seem to have seen you together assert (it’s a small place still)? Did he ask you "in general terms" to see if you could identify the author of the letters "scandalising the courts"? If he did not, please say so categorically as if on oath. If he did, did you ever think this was an odd thing for a High Court judge to be asking you? Did he do you any other favours-maybe a job offer or help with one?Careful.

          We Caymanians know Desmond Seales-good and bad- from long before you ever set foot here so we need no education from you about him but many of us are still not happy with how the "walking through the open office door to check for-?what?- because to say it was a break in is libellous" is playing out.

          So, help us. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX; many are nervous.

           

          CNS: This last sentence contained a pretty serious allegation.