Dixon case a mess, says Rose

| 07/10/2009

(CNS): Defence counsel for Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon told the jury on Wednesday that the Crown’s evidence against his client was a “mess” and a “million miles from the truth". During his closing submissions Jonathan Rose said the prosecution was “clutching at straws” and had not proved its case. He noted that a defendant does not have to prove his innocence but that the Crown should prove guilt. However, in this case the evidence had proven Dixon’s innocence. Rose noted that the Crown selected from the evidence as it suited them and entirely ignored the conflicting testimony.

Rose noted, too, that this was the last case initiated by the Operation Tempura team, which has all come to nothing. Here, he said, the jury was presented with a man who had given more than 30 years to public service, and who, despite what PC Graham Summers has to say about it, had every right to be proud of his many achievements. Rose said the arrival of Operation Tempura, an investigation which had cost millions and millions of dollars, had caused scandal with judges being arrested, chambers being searched, top police officers also arrested and commissioners suspended. “All because of a man called Bridger, who I don’t suppose will be returning to Cayman for his holidays,” Rose noted.

The defence counsel went on to say that the Crown was trying to distance itself from the investigation, but it had caused a feeding frenzy where rumours became truth and gossip fact. He demonstrated how that had led to distorted beliefs, such as that by Fabien Sambula who believed Evans and Dixon were good friends. Yet, when cross examined the only evidence he had for that was seeing them chat in the police canteen. “So what!” exclaimed Rose, who went on to say the Crown’s persistent position that Evans and Dixon were friends was just not true and there was no evidence at all to suggest such a relationship.

Rose told the jury that the evidence in general against his client was wholly insufficient to support any conviction and, if anything, it pointed to his innocence.   

Rose noted how the Crown had also accused Buel Braggs of being involved in a whitewash of Summers’ report without a shred of evidence or even giving him chance to address their accusations. He said the investigation had not even contacted Braggs until a few months ago, and that was only because the defence had asked for the Crown to disclose the report that Dixon had given to him. All along the Operation Tempura investigation had been far from balanced and skewed in one direction, he said.

Rose told the jury that the Crown had entirely ignored the conflicting testimony given by their witnesses and glossed over all the evidence that pointed to the issue that all of the uniform officers that night had been mucking around, and it was clear that Rudy Evans’ arrest was in question long before Dixon’s phone had even rung. Despite the fact that the Crown was suggesting that the only reason why Rudolph Evans was released that night was because of Dixon, the evidence demonstrated that it all began far earlier, Rose said.

With the admission of the Cumber case file — the basis for the advice Dixon gave to Inspector Burmon Scott — it was demonstrated that, given the circumstances, Dixon had offered sound advice in good faith, Rose said. He noted that Scott’s conflicting testimony, which differed from that given by PC Summers, PC Boxwell and Dixon’s own evidence, as well as the widely differing stories offered by the other uniformed officers on duty that night, was likely down to the arrival of Operation Tempura, which had given them all reason enough to lie.

Rose suggested that, in order to keep themselves out of trouble, they had probably defaulted to what was usual procedure in such circumstances rather than what really happened that night when they were questioned by the UK cops. That explained why they all testified it was a normal arrest but with stories which were very different from events as described by Summers and Scott, he said.

When it came to the testimony offered by Scott that Evans and Dixon had spoken that night, Rose said, given the circumstances which Scott faced, it was perhaps understandable he would have lied. “When Operation Tempura came to see Scott they arrested him, they cautioned and interviewed him as a suspect,’ Rose said. “He must’ve been terrified to find himself involved in this.”

The defence lawyer noted that, given his immunity from prosecution and his efforts to seek compensation, Scott had to stick to his story even though it conflicted not just with Dixon’s account of the phone call but with the other officers testimony from that evening, and in particular that of Summers, who has stated that when he spoke to Scott and told him Evans was coming in Scott had made the telling comment that he couldn’t do that as Evans had put pips on his shoulder.

“The prosecution accepts this but ignores the implications,” Rose said, adding that, coupled with the messing around at the scene and more messing around at the police station, it pointed to the fact that the problem had set in long before any advice came from Dixon.

Rose also noted the lack of custody record for the night’s events, which Scott testified he had written out and then endorsed with the orders from Dixon but it has never been found on the computer records. Rose suggested that if Dixon had, as Scott suggested, given him an unlawful order to release someone, it would be expected that Scott would want to keep that evidence for his own sake.

Rose also argued the point that Dixon had never covered up the advice he gave to Scott. He had discussed it the next morning with his colleague Derek Haines and that, far from plotting a cover-up, he had simply run it by someone. He pointed to the absurdity of the Crown’s suggestion that this conversation was the first step in a deception when it was utterly impossible for Dixon to know in May 2004 that Operation Tempura would turn up and arrest him four years later.  

Speaking directly to the jury with often amusing asides, Rose took over two hours on Tuesday morning to argue his client’s innocence and point out to them that there was just no evidence that Dixon had ordered the release of Evans that night but had merely, on the face of the information given to him, offered the inspector on duty advice on how to proceed with what was suspected to be an unlawful arrest.

Justice Charles Quin, the presiding judge will offer his directions to the jury this morning (Wednesday) before dismissing the members to discuss their verdict.

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