Cops to investigate Dr Frank’s arrest

| 18/06/2013

(CNS): Following the rejection of the crown’s case against former Cabinet member and playwright Dr Frank McField by a magistrate recently, Police Commissioner David Baines has confirmed that an internal investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding his arrest and subsequent charges. Baines told McField in a short letter last week that his case raised “issues of serious concern”. Meanwhile, Sandra Catron, another outspoken local activist who won a judicial review against the police over an unlawful warrant, has written to the justice of the peace who signed it without having a clue what it was about to refrain from signing any more.

The two cases both raised serious questions about the conduct of the local police and are not dissimilar from many cases that have gone through the local courts where the behaviour of the local police has been called into question or demonstrated to be questionable at best and unlawful on some occasions. However, while many allegations have been made by people about the police, they have not always been so tenacious or in a position to defend themselves against possible unlawful acts by those serving in uniform or to directly take on the authorities so publicly.

However, following the dismissal of the case against Frank McField, when Magistrate Kirstyann Gunn accepted his 'no case to answer' submission part way through his summary court trial, he wrote to David Baines. McField asked for a public apology and some form of compensation as a result of what he said was a wrongful arrest and the way that both he and his partner were treated by RCIPS officers during an incident last year at McField’s George Town restaurant,  when officers appear to have acted outside of the law. 

Although falling far short of an apology or any compensation, the acknowledgement of the issues of concern and the questions raised is a step on that road. However, McField still has a long battled ahead as the police continue to investigate themselves. Internal police enquiries carried out by the Professional Standards Unit very rarely find against the RCIPS but McField is not likely to let the incident be swept under the carpet. Chief Inspector Richard Barrow, the senior officer tasked with dealing with the case, will be doing so under much greater public scrutiny than is usually the case for internal enquiries.

Meanwhile, Catron has written to Louis Ebanks, the Justice of the Peace who signed a police warrant which police used to conduct an invasive search of her office, home and car in relation to a case of alleged harassment via an ICT network, asking him to stop signing any more warrants.

In a shocking revelation in the court during a judicial review of the warrant in Catron’s case, the JP admitted that he had signed it having absolutely no idea of what it was for, without seeing any evidence of a crime and simply because the police asked him to, as he had in every case for the last two decades. Despite this, the judge had made it clear that the JP should not suffer the consequences but that it should be the RCIPS and crown that should remain responsible for the consequences and any possible compensation paid to Catron.

When Catron realized this week that Ebanks was still signing warrants, she wrote to him asking that he refrain from doing so. She has copied her letter to the premier, who under his new portfolio has responsibility for issues relating to law and order, as well as the deputy governor asking them to address the situation and amend the Summary Jurisdiction Law (2006 Revision) to prevent the police from using this JP and others who are not familiar with the law. Catron said she will be beginning a campaign to get the law changed and prevent the use of JPs without legal experience from signing warrants and force police to use officers of the court.

See Baines' letter to McField and Catron’s letter to the JP posted below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Frank may have at one time walked around with a parrot on his schoulder and may have been shot under a dark cloud of circumstances and may have spat at a Police Constable while intoxicated and may be a voice for the drug addicts but he does not deserve to be falsely charged and dragged through the mud. This no end to poor cases has to stop as it is a waste of an overburdenend budget and legal system. You cannot keep presenting cases of loss against the community without a loss of credibility. Frank or Dr Frank is going to show how poorly ran thos in charge are and the incompetent subordinates that they have are. And even though has a Doctrine he is no geniuses at law. When he can show you that you are incompetent and it is clearly understood you need to take a hard look in the mirror. When your sesspool is over flowing and draining fecal matter around your yard you cannot complain about your nieghboors trash can.

    • Diogenes says:

      Hang on a second!   There is no dispute apparently as to whether there was a physical tussle with police who Dr F knew were police officers, or that the premises was unlicensed – rather he has won on the technicality that they should not have been on the premises without a properly obtained warrant and the consequneces are not his responsibility.  However, ask your self if this is what you or would have done – breached the law on licensed premises, breached the law on music, and then gotten into a physical altercation with police officers.  We are not exactly talking Snow White here – "dragged through the mud" indeed.  I absolutely agree that the police mens conduct was shocking, and they should have gotten a properly obtained warrant, but don't use that to paint the man as Mohatma Gandhi.  

      • Jonas Dwyer says:

        Diogenes, did you attend the court proceedings, did you see the total evidence presented by both sides.  I believe if you did, and you are a thruthful and just individual, you woyld not be chatting the foo foo lishness you talking.

  2. Anonymous says:

    JPs are not equipped to weigh the legal merits of a search warrant!?!  I'm amazed this actually happens!  Who is in charge of this?  Attorney General?

    • anon. says:

      It would seem that we have enough Judges to handle weekend and after hours warrant duties on a rotating basis. This would solve the problem.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WOW … Thought I could not be shocked or surprised by the incompetence of the authorities any further. This is surreal!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good to see Ms. Catron doing this. Shows she has a concern for the greater good here! Remove JPs for the search warrant equation I say!

  5. Just Commentin' says:

    "No case to answer".  Did everyone get this? NO CASE!  He got off on the charges and did not have to even hire a lawyer. 

    It should be a wake-up call when Dr. Frank can make the RCIPS look like the Keystone Cops and Crown prosecution look like a banana republic outfit.

    The people of these islands should demand that the professionalism and compentancy of both organsations should be looked into with proctoscopic scrutiny and any diseased parts be excised with surgical precision.

    Enough is enough!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Who does Sandra think that she is. At least most of the JPs has good credibility even if they are not so learned. This position also calls for honesty.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have got to be kidding me? Were you in open court and herard how incompetent the 81year old JP is?

      Stop hating and get with the program – or would you like the government AKA the people to keep getting sued so incompetent people have something to do?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Our Comissioner Mr Baines is a fair man and we trust that he will see to Dr Franks rights. After all Dr Frank was brought up by some of the best old time Caymanian parents and he is no harm to no one. Worked very hard quietly for the poor when he was elected. After the Ivan Dr Frank was packing food boxes and was on the back of a truck delivering as far as West Bay. A prominent West Bay lady said that all she and her family received was what Dr Frank took for her including water. I say he should have some place in our society. Thanks Mr Baines.

    • Rorschach says:

      YOU can trust the CoP to look after YOUR rights…frankly speaking..(see what I did there?) I will educate myself and ensure that I look after my OWN rights, thank you very much…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good on you both Ms. Catron and D. Mcfield.

    The Powers that be have gotten away with questionable and sometimes unlawful behavior for far too long!