Former cop acted as debt collector

| 07/06/2012

court good.jpg(CNS): A former RCIPS officer, who has since left the Cayman Islands, was described by a magistrate as acting as an “unregulated private debt collector while clothed in the authority of a police officer” when he threatened a woman with arrest if she did not make payments in a theft case. Last month Magistrate Valdis Foldats threw out a theft case against Kerry Horek as a result of the behaviour of the Financial Crimes Unit officer in the case. The magistrate found that the police officer had assisted the complainant to reach an unlawful agreement with the defendant, delaying a prosecution for theft as well as committing the offence of ‘compounding’ by attempting to extract payment from the accused woman for the missing funds.

Horek, a former partner at Island Rental Services, was accused of dishonestly appropriating rental payments of over $22,000 made by tenants for one of the firm’s landlords. Horek, who has since lost her business, had contended that the theft was committed by an employee of the company, who stole other funds as well and was the cause of the rental firm’s demise. However, as the main partner she had accepted culpability for the loss incurred by the landlord and had been attempting to come to some agreement with the victim to repay the missing money.

As events unfolded, Horek said she was harassed by DC Richard Clarke from the Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) into making payments to the landlord under threat of arrest, before she was able to negotiate an appropriate payment plan that she could afford. As a result, she was struggling to meet payments beyond the first $5,400 before getting into difficulties, at which point Clarke arrested her.

During the Summary Court trial the officer admitted that he had brokered a deal between Horek and the landlord as he believed the complainant was only interested in getting back the stolen cash. Clarke testified that facilitating the agreement was the easiest way for the complainant to get that money back rather than go through a court process. The officer admitted that he did not consult with his superiors or obtain any legal advice before embarking on this course of action and the magistrate said that Clarke did not appear to have an understanding of the offence of 'compounding'.

Furthermore, after he had arrested Horek he entered into an agreement himself with the defendant for her to sell his own condo. After the sale was completed he then filed charges against Horek.

In his ruling as to whether he should stay the summary trial on the grounds that to allow it to continue would be to condone the abuse of process committed by the officer, Foldats noted that without oversight, advice or directions from a superior officer, Clarke assisted the landlord to reach an unlawful agreement with the defendant. Foldats added that the investigating officer had taken what he called “an active, aggressive and partisan” part in trying to get money for the landlord.

“In essence, he was acting as an unregulated private debt collector while clothed in the authority of a police officer, pressuring the defendant to make payments under threat of arrest. The investigating officer's actions, although perhaps unwitting (in the sense that he was unaware of the offence of compounding), were certainly unlawful. In essence, he facilitated the commission of an offence,” Magistrate Foldats stated.

“It is this unlawful conduct that offends the court's sense of justice and propriety,” the magistrate added as he threw the case out.

The officer’s role as a debt collector had also been previously highlighted by a senior officers in the RCIPS before Horek had been arrested. She told CNS that she had complained to the police about Clarke’s harassment and in an email correspondence a senior officer had described Clarke’s actions in similar terms to the magistrate, and believed that Horek’s case was a civil not criminal matter.

Asking officers in the FCU to address the complaint, Superintendent Kurt Walton wrote to officers about the harassment over the payment plan and the threats of arrest. “It would seem to me that this became a civil matter at some point for which the RCIPS are now performing a debt collector's role,” Walton wrote, as he asked the FCU to look into the issue.

Horek said she believes the officer at the FCU did not follow Walton’s instructions and as a result she was arrested and embroiled in a protracted criminal case, which involved her having to attend court on 30 separate occasions until it was finally thrown out by the magistrate last month.

Category: Crime

Comments (34)

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  1. Annoymous says:

    The news on the television stated that the woman notified the police about the officers miscondut before she was arrested and they did nothing.  That part everyone should take seriously.  When you complain to the Police they are suppose to help you not ignore you as a citizen that part of this story was most upsetting to me.

    http://www.cayman27.com.ky/2012/06/07/woman-wants-police-apology

    • Anonymous says:

      It is terrible that this kind of situation could happen. Hopefully Ms. Horek will now be able to pick up the pieces and move on with her life after such a horrible ordeal. Although I don't know her she assisted a friend with the rental of her house and my friend could not have been more pleased with Ms. Horek's service. She and I and I'm sure many others wish this lady the best of luck in her future endeavours.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh my God, corruption!! In the Cayman Islands!  Abuse of pubic office!!! Truly shocking, I didn't think I'd live to see the day it came to this <end sarcasm>

  3. noname says:

    This is common practice around here, where UK police commit sex crimes or other criminal activities and the way out is the way home to the UK!  Case closed.

    While Cayman highly decorated Police are stripped down to their undies, investigated on the bridge to nowhere,  not guilty, and no charges.

    Yet no apology from the governor in question, and no offer of compensation for loss of job, dignity, humiliation, pain and sufering, including psychological damages.

    After years of dragging out a trumped up charge against our innocent Cayman Cops they finally hire a lawyer and force the RCIP to compensate them. I'd like to see thosee figures. Why are they hidden?

    For the UK cops, commit the crime, you don't have to do any time,

    just book a flight on you way home, no one will notice.

    after all you're from the UK!  That's grant of immunity.

    • Anonymous says:

      The cases brought against local officers as result of investigations were all credible. To call them “trumped up” is disgraceful revisionism. We’re it not for the great service of UK officers in this territory there would be far more gun crime and organised crime.

      • Anon says:

        ROTFLMAO!!!!! I'm assuming you are both talking about Operation Tempura/Cealt.

        99.99% of the 'cases' made against local officers were malicious, racially motivated, based on marl road gossip and/or attempts to settle old scores by the complainants, some of whom were also serving RCIPS officers.

        In the UK not one of them would have made it past the intial assessment stage and more than a few would have resulted in the complainants being prosecuted for wasting police time or gross misconduct.

        The problem is Tempura/Cealt was operating on a blank cheque funded by the people of the Cayman Islands so the people involved didn't give a toss. They investigated complete rubbish because the longer the investigation could be drawn out the more money they made. One officer apparently even made an all expenses paid trip to Canada following a dead-end that could have been dealt with over the phone in 10 minutes.

        The real irony is that several very serious, and well documented, complaints (one related to falsifying evidence, another  involved destroying evidence) were completely ignored and the officers involved were allowed to retire quietly rather than facing time in Northward.

      • Weekender says:

        ALL credible? Are you kidding??? Obviously, you don't have all of the facts! One of them was proven to be a false arrest, the same situation as the Judge's case, and to this day there is no apology, no compensation etc. and this matter seems to have gone away with the wind. And you have the audacity to say we are a bit better off because of the UK officers? Oh, please! Go have a cold beer, buddy, and come again with that one!!!

        • in credible says:

          You are so right.  Better to get rid of all UK officers and replace them all with Caymanians just like the Government.  That would teach them a lesson.  And maybe you too.

          • Weekender says:

            No lessons to be taught here. Sounds as if you didn't have your tea today, mate. Don't waste your time posting back. Whoever you are is not worth my time responding to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman Highly decorated police? ….. lol!       WTF for?

      There has never been anything happen here worth highly decorating anyone for!

      Just another example of self appreciation, ingratiation and dissappearing up your own a99hole!

       

      A good spell in the real world working alongside people who should be highly decorated each day will do you good.

      Let me know how Helmand province was for you?

    • Anonymous says:

      UK cops?  Well, the two that made sexual advances on me were definitely not from the UK but I'm sure that since the only axe you all want to grind is on the UK cops, no one will mention the others.  One of these non-UK cops was moved to another location and PROMOTED.

  4. Anonymous says:

    the RCIP is currupted more than 1/2 of the RCIP buy numbers and drive around with expired coupon etc, but yet they are the oneS we have to uphold the law, SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

  5. Anonymous says:

    That's the problem with RCIPS, they need to know the laws and not what they think is the law.  I had to tell two different police officers what the law is regarding two different situations. They were picking sides instead of following the law.  Like I told one police officer, you may not like it but that is the law and if you don't believe me feel free to call a lawyer as I have dealt with many lawyers as well  as read the laws regarding these matters.

    • Concerned Caymanain says:

      I'm not surprised the local Police Officers don't "know the law".  They only get 6 weeks training!!  And some are not fully literate either – if you ever read any of their transcript notes, you would be appalled.

      • Anonymous says:

        It really seems that most of the cops were just recruited by friends – great way to avoid work permits, no need to be held accountable, – and no understanding of the law and I have met a fw who went to law school but have been so trained in 'not understanding' still cant apply the law but coming to Cayman and getting a job as a civil servant is like finding valuable treasure

         

  6. Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

    I am still at a loss as to what really took place and who is guilty of any crime – then again, I am a blond!

    • Been There Before says:

      Ha! My dear, I'm blonde too but, I'm quite sure there's more to this story than what was revealed. As they say, things that make ya go hmm….. Interesting to hear what the former landlord would have to say.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So are we going to arrest Mr Clarke? If not, why not?

    It is common practice in all other jurisdictions to view police officers (for that was what he was at the time, regardless of the fact that he has since left the force) as being in a particular position of trust requiring the highest standards of compliance with the law. As such any offence is generally dealt with in an exemplaary fashion to reinforce public confidence in the institution of Police.

    We must do the same here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course not. He's English. Duh!

    • Anon says:

      Nothing will be done because he left the RCIPS and the islands at least a year ago.

      This is going to be yet another case of RCIPS washing their hands of the matter because an officer is –

      1. No longer employed by RCIPS.

      2. No longer in the Cayman Islands.

      And that's a legal stance supported by both the Commissioner and the Governor so you aren't going to change it in a hurry.   

       

      • Anonymous says:

        According tot he report he 'testified'. How? By video link? If not why was he not arrested on suspicion whiel in the country? Ms Horek's defence was known.

        Now let us get rid of another piece of rubbish. Won't be because he is English…? The court records show plenty prosecutions of English people.

  8. Anonymous says:

    sums up everything wrong with this place including the caymankind justice system…..zzzzzzz

  9. anonymous says:

    HMPH…nuttin new here…there are LOADS of foreign officers who come here and all of a sudden start acting as "Debt collectors"..the problem is these officers come from other places that these practices are not only seen as normal, but practiced openly to the detriment of the civil population….until the Commish decides to start taking steps to clean his house..the police will continue to walk around with figurative black eyes…

    • Anonymous says:

      This ex-police officer is from Britain…and I can assure you, that is not the norm for conduct of police officers in Britain.

      As a matter of fact, once these offenses had been reported to his superiors, he would have immediately been investigated and charged with misconduct in a public office…as well as the crime of compounding an offense…had he been in Britain.

      Is the fact that he is British influenced why he's been allowed to leave Cayman's jurisdiction without facing any charges or prosecution ?

      Ypur guess is as good as mine.

      • anonymous says:

        Whilst I appreciate that this isn't the norm for the UK, unfortunately,  this seems to be the norm for HERE..and why is that??  The head honchos are pretty much ALL from the UK..why are they not upholding the SAME standards??

      • Anon says:

        As a British ex-pat with more than a little experience of dealing with our police back home you have got to be joking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Police in the UK have the absolute right to determine whether or not complaints merit investigation and they not only frequently use that to bury reports against officers but also try to intimidate the complainants into backing down. If that fails they just on the sit on the complaint and hope it goes away.

        Admittedly, we have the IPCC but that is a joke, more likely to condone police misconduct than properly investigate it.

        Caymanians – Don't believe this rubbish.

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know he was foreign? Or is this more stirring of hatred for all things not born of the island?

      • anonymous says:

        Did you even READ the article???   Mr. Clarke was from the UK…..

        • Anonymous says:

          Pray tell me where exactly in the CNS article you read that? If you can't then perhaps you would apologise for your aggressive reply