Archive for February 5th, 2010

Seales to face SPIT witness over labour complaint

| 05/02/2010 | 7 Comments

Cayman Islands news, Grand Cayman local news, Cayman Net News(CNS): John Evans, the man who was at the centre of the Operation Tempura investigation and a former reporter with Cayman Net News, is to face his former boss, Desmond Seales, at a Labour Tribunal next month. Evans was one of two former staff members at the newspaper involved with the search for possible evidence against Seales suggesting he was involved in a corrupt relationship with Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis, which triggered the controversial and expensive UK special police investigation. Since then, Evans has been pursuing a case against Seales for various employment violations.

Evans confirmed that he recently received notification from the Department of Employment Relations that his hearing has been set for Wednesday 17 March, when Evans will be presenting a number of alleged complaints against Seales regarding his employment with Cayman Net News and his subsequent dismissal.

Evans said that although this had been a long road and the hearing itself is closed to the press, he was still pleased that it was going ahead. “I believe that it presents an opportunity for the working practices at Cayman Net News, and Mr Seales’ other companies, to be placed under official scrutiny, free from the veil of secrecy that normally surrounds them,” Evans said. “There are many other former employees who I know have unsettled grievances against our former employer. Hopefully, my decision to pursue this matter relentlessly over the past two years will now encourage them to also seek redress.”  

Seales faced some considerable financial difficulties last year, which came to a head when his previous landlord at Alissta Towers took legal action against him for some $55,000 in outstanding rent and eventually evicted the newspaper proprietor and his staff. Since then Seales has been based at offices in the Mirco Centre in George Town.

CNS understands that a number of other staff members have also filed various complaints about Seales with the DER and other government agencies over the last 12 months. It appears, however, that Evans is the first to persue his case to a tribunal. Evans also has outstanding complaints with the police here and in the UK regarding his involvement in Operation Tempura.

Evans became a key crown witness in the SPIT’s case against Lyndon Martin, who was tried for doing acts intending to pervert the course of public justice and falsely accusing Anthony Ennis of a crime. Martin alleged that during his time on staff at Cayman Net News he was convinced by Seales that Ennis was the newspaper boss’s police source and reported his suspicions to senior police officers in the RCIPS, who initiated an internal investigation and ultimately the $10 million plus enquiry into so-called police corruption.

When Evans was finally brought to court during Lyndon’s trial and took the stand, he made it clear he believed Martin was innocent and that he had been led to believe that Ennis was Seales’ police source. Evans told the court that Seales had also told him that he had a senior police source who was leaking him information, which was Anthony Ennis. During the trial Evans described Seales as “vindictive and volatile” and not someone he wanted to be on the wrong side of.

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Delta adds Cayman Islands route from New York

| 05/02/2010 | 1 Comment

(USA Today): Beginning June 12, Delta Air Lines will add nonstop service from New York JFK to Grand Cayman. Delta will fly one round-trip flight each Saturday using Boeing 737-800 jets. "Added airlift from New York City is welcomed, particularly by an airline partner like Delta Air Lines, that has the ability to draw customers from New York and beyond, given its extensive network and presence in the region," Shomari Scott, Cayman Islands Acting Director of Tourism, says in a press release.

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Trial locked down as special hearing continues

| 05/02/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): For the second day running the murder trial of Kirkland Henry and Larry Ricketts remained under wraps as a result of sub judice laws surrounding the specialist hearing preventing any public reporting of the testimony presented inside Grand Court One. However, the voir dire, did conclude on Thursday afternoon with a key witness, paving the way for the solicitor general Cheryll Richards QC (left) and Ricketts’ defence attorney Robert Fortune QC, to prepare their submissions for the judge over the evidence in question based on the testimony of all five witnesses called during the “trial within the trial.”

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie will hear arguments from both counsel on Friday about why crown evidence should or should not be admitted and make his ruling before the trial ‘proper’ resumes. In the interim, Richards asked for the court to return to its normal proceedings tomorrow morning before the judge hears the submissions on the voir dire, in order to allow the pathologist Dr Bruce Hyman, who has travelled to the Cayman Islands from Miami, to give his technical evidence.

Following Hyma’s testimony, the court will return to the voir dire with submissions and legal arguments regarding the disputed evidence, which will be made before the chief justice. The judge will then have to consider the presentations from the attorneys before ruling the evidence in or out and before any further crown witnesses are called.

So far, the crown has presented circumstantial and forensic DNA evidence against Henry, who has admitted guilt in the abduction, rape and robbery but denied the murder charge, and has connected him to the property of Estella Scott-Roberts. The crown has also revealed police statements made by Henry accusing Rickets of not only being his accomplice on the night of the murder but the primary motivator of the crime.

In the case against Ricketts the crown has submitted video footage evidence of him attempting to use Scott-Roberts’ Cayman National bank card on the morning after her murder as well as statements from police that Ricketts was in possession of Scott-Roberts’ phone. The crown has not yet submitted any other evidence against Ricketts in the trial proper.    

At the start of the trial the solicitor general had said that as a result of agreements between the legal teams the trail timetable had been cut from four to three weeks. It is unclear if the voir dire has derailed the expected time line, pushing the trial into a fourth week.

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