Government lawyer disputes Polaine claims

| 28/01/2014

(CNS): Although the Attorney General’s Chambers has still not addressed the question over why it did not defend the employment of Martin Polaine, one of the legal advisors on the controversial Operation Tempura police probe, when he was disbarred in 2009, the solicitor general has written a letter requesting clarification on an article posted on CNS earlier this month. The government lawyer disputes the content of the article about Polaine being disbarred from the profession based on the content of Sir Peter Cresswell’s ruling in the judicial review of the unlawful arrest of Justice Alex Henderson as she says he did not find that Polaine was not qualified to practice in Cayman. 

In her letter to CNS (attached below), dated 23 January 2014, Solicitor General Jacqueline Wilson states that JusticeCresswell never said Polaine was not qualified but rather that he set out the submissions of the attorneys representing Henderson who had argued that Polaine was not called to the bar and not qualified to give advice in Cayman.

However, Cresswell does point to his acceptance of the submissions made by Ramon Alberga, QC, who was representing Henderson and sets out in his summary of the case that Polaine was not called to the bar.  In addition, the UK Bar Council, which had originally disbarred Polaine, also used the comments by Alberga, which appeared to be accepted by Cresswell as grounds for the lawyer’s removal from the profession.

At the hearing in 2009, which was convened as a result of a complaint filed by Justice Henderson and based on the ruling by Cresswell, the UK’s legal tribunal found that Polaine was not qualified to practise as a lawyer or offer expert knowledge of the law in the Cayman Islands and knew or ought to have known he was not competent to give such advice. The findings were all based on the critical ruling by Cresswell in which he took all of the Tempura team to task and indicated that Polaine had not been called to the bar.

However, Wilson has asked for an apology and a clarification stating that the article was “misleading and confusing” and was wrong to suggest that an erroneous finding by the judge formed the basis of the original uncontested decision of the UK’s disciplinary tribunal.

See related CNS articles:

SPIT lawyer disbarred (10 December 2009)

Tempura lawyer reinstated (15 January 2014)

Category: Local News

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the SG could tell us who is and who is not entitled to practise Cayman Law given that according to firm websites, being called to the Cayman Bar is plainly not one of the requirements? Zzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Why the thumbs down? You are not suggesting that persons described as Cayman Islands Lawyers and advising on Cayman Islands Law  necessarily are admitted to the Cayman Bar are you? I dare you, check the names against the Cayman court roll.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The words "deluded sense of self-importance" spring to mind.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Exactly who is the solicitor general claiming to represent in this instance and why does this make any difference to her or her client?  Misconstruing cases is a lawyer's stock in trade.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What an atrocious letter.  What is CNS being asked to apologise for?  Why is it the business of the SG? 

    • The Seeker says:

      The a Solicitor Heneral is trying to set the record straight on the Judges ruling, nothing more nothing less. CNS did indeed portray an inaccurate account of the ruling.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not the SG's job.  Not a good use of public resources.  Does not answer the question of who the apology is being sought by.  The tone at the end of the letter is quite dark as it intimates further steps and could arguably be read as an attempt to chill media comment on this issue.

      • Anonymous says:

        Question is why? There has been no other interest from her office in getting to the bottom of this.