Ex-top cop gets secret payoff

| 01/04/2014

(CNS): Former police commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, who was sacked during the discredited internal police corruption enquiry, Operation Tempura, has been given a secret pay-off to settle a legal claim that he was wrongfully dismissed. What is understood to be a significant sum is being kept under wraps even though the public purse has picked up the tab. A short joint statement released by officials from the attorney general’s chambers and Kernohan's lawyers, Campbells, confirmed the settlement but officials said the deal was confidential. Speculation mounted Monday that the payoff was in the millions but secrecy surrounding the agreement prevented confirmation of the sum.

The short release, which came from Campbells office, stated: "The Cayman Islands Government and the ex-Commissioner of Police Mr Stuart Kernohan have agreed to settle their involvement in the ongoing civil matter. Mr Kernohan served as Commissioner of Police from 2005-2008 and the Government wishes to thank him for his commitment and service to the Islands."

The mystery payout comes on top of the cash government spent fighting the legal claim to date, which was filed almost five years ago, and on trying to prevent Martin Bridger, the senior investigating officer on the ill-fated Tempura probe, from using material he acquired in the wake of the enquiry to fight the claim Kernohan had made against him as well.

It also adds to the growing costs of the overall Operation Tempura tab, which has been footed by the public purse and has included a $1.275 million claim paid to Grand Court judge, Justice Alex Henderson, a pay-off to Rudy Dixon, the former deputy police commissioner, who was caught up in an unrelated element of the Tempura probe but who was paid off, and the cost of the investigation itself, as well as numerous other legal battles.

The governor's office has also spent considerable amounts of public cash fighting the information commissioner in an effort to keep the lid on a report documenting a complaint about the interference with the internal police probe filed by the legal advisor on the case, Martin Polaine, and Bridger.

It is not clear if Kernohan is continuing his claim against Bridger or whether this settlement also means an end to that legal challenge, which saw the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) engaged in costly courtroom fights with Bridger as it sought and succeeded in preventing him using documents that he had acquired during the course of the probe in the defence of Kernohan’s suit against him.

Kernohan, who was the police commissioner between 2005 and 2008, until the UK covert cops came to Cayman, was dismissed while suspended from duty as a result of what Bridger believed was his part in a burglary at Cayman Net News to look for evidence of a high level police leak to the owner, the late Desmond Seales. Although Bridger established within weeks that there was no corrupt relationship between Seales and Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis, the investigator decided Kernohan and the then RCIPS chief superintendent John Jones had colluded with John Evans and Lyndon Martin, reporters at the local paper, in what was essentially an unauthorized break-in to the newspaper's office.

Kernohanand Jones had both insisted, however, that they had cleared the entry into Net News with Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, as well as the governor at the time, Stuart Jack, and the overseas territories advisor, Larry Covington, and had documentation to support their position. Bridger has since stated that he was never told that Kernohan had got the nod from his bosses for the entry and had he known he would never have launched the costly investigation that flowed from his belief that an offence had been committed.

During his time on suspension, as the investigation dragged on, Kernohan's father became very ill and passed away. As a result, the suspended cop returned to the UK and then declined to return to the jurisdiction for a number of reasons, including his concerns about how the investigation was being conducted and as he believed the governor had no authority to order his return to Cayman while he had been placed on required leave. However, the governor thought otherwise and sacked Kernohan in November 2008 and less than six months later Kernohan filed suit.

The case then dragged on with a number of twists and turns, including Bridger’s attempts to defend his position in the probe as it related to the cause of Kernohan’s suspension, in particular the documents which Bridger had retained when he left Cayman, which related to the investigation.

A legal battle came down in Bulgin’s favour when a judge ruled that Bridger was not allowed to use the documents as they were not his to use.

Although this could be the last major law suit that the CIG has to settle in relation to the fall out of Tempura, the amount may not remain secret for long. CNS has submitted an FOI request for the sum and although that will be refused, because the cash comes from the public purse, government will have to account for the money in a line item in the budget.

Category: Crime

Comments (76)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    And why not give him a secret payoff?

    After all, selected 'top civil servants' received the same during the recent Voluntary Separation mess. even as many long-serving Caymanians who applied were excluded.

    Was this a REAL attempt to cut the cost of the the govenrment service?

    The answer is obvious.

    The names of those who were 'separated' will never be released – never mind the reasons why they are bright back to Cayman on special contracts.. what does that say about the rest of the apparently dysfunctional agencies that cannot exist without them?

  2. A Boy Named Sue says:

    We settled this one! With your money!  Cause we really f#@ked up. It was a good deal… but we can't tell you how much. But trust us…it won't happen again. And we're just glad it wasn't our money. Yeah mon.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow, it's easy to spend other people's money.

  4. Whodatis says:

    Good ol' Britannia … staying true to her parasitic ways.

  5. Anonymou says:

    The reason the information of corruption will never see the light of day is the lack of proof which would result in more lawsuits.

    Everyone has heard the Marl Road stories.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman purse is paying for the actions of foreigners who came here and were placed in positions of trust and either made or recommended those wrong decisions. The sad thing is that so many Caymanians in positions of power are either suspected or known to be corrupt that no one knows where the future is taking us. Very, very sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      A small point. Much of the "Cayman purse" is foriegner's money. 

    • anonymous says:

      Please feel free to start up your own hedge fund or corporate litigation venture to generate true wealth you can call your own. Do not bite the hand that feeds you. Those furriners can move to another jurisdiction just as quick as they pitched up to the next politically stable territory.

      • Anonymous says:

        …and are doing so. And will continue to do so. And the 'fees'  (hey, I didn't say tax) are, and will continue to go up. Up. Up. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Me thinks the locals proclaim " grateful, grateful" too much

      • Anonymous says:

        Many Caymanians have set up businesses, though there may not be many hedge funds or corporate litigation ventures, which have generated true wealth and have benefitted society as a whole. A hedge fund only benefits the hedge fund managers and administrators and investors who are a small group of wealthy people but establishing a successful commercial enterprsie, as have been done by many Caymanians, have benefitted the owners as well as customers and employees 

        l who are all drawn from a greater cross section of society than hedge fund clients and employees of firms who manage or administer hedge funds. Please look around and see the many successful locally owned businesses such as Kirks Supermarket, Fosters. Hurleys,  A L Thompsons, Flowers Group, Scotts Industries etc.

        • Anonymous says:

          Monopolies, one and all. And let's not forget govt fees for a hedge find that benefit Caymanians. 

        • dr kananga says:

          Cool, the way is paved for you to take it from here. You obviously don't need the outside investment to get in your way.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Something is rotten and stink here. The AG and X Govenor are the accused in this case with Kernohan. They denied any wrong doing and vow to clear their names. This is how they they do it. Pay out another million and tell Kernie to shut up.

    Good night

  8. Absurdistani says:

    So much for good governance and transparency…

     

    Just another day in Absurdistan.

    • Anonymous says:

      For a modest fee we could do the same for you. Contact me at CIG, behind the bike shed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Nice transparency, from the anti-corruption task force no less!

  10. Anonymous says:

    This PPM government in Cabinet would have needed to approve the funds for the settlement as the sum was paid from our CIG accounts therefore, the PPM must explain the following:

    1. what really happened?

    2. what was the settlement amount?

    3. Fight for the full disclosure of the Operation Tempura ruling 

    Caymanians deserve transparency and accountability for yet another set of expensive set of mistakes.

     

    • dr kananga says:

      Strange how there are now calls for transparency and accountability yet from the 1980's until present it was as welcomed by the local population as much as dengue fever.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Only in the Cayman Islands can something like this be done without any accountability.  All of the government officials and others involved in what everyone publicly knows as a "botched" investigation should hang their heads in shame to know that they have captively and PUBLICLY EMBARRASSED the Cayman Islands!!  How can you sleep at night knowing??

    Shame on all of you!  You have no right to continue stealing from the Caymanian people!!

    I write this word with hopes that echos in your head for as long as you continue to hide what you know should be made public!

    SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME ON YOU!!!! 

  12. Anonymous says:

    I thought he was (rightly) fired by his immediate boss, the Governor, for refusing to return to Cayman when ordered to. Whether he wanted to or not is neither here or there. He was ordered to return and disobeyed it. Just let a Caymanian try that! And there would be no secret payout for the Caymanian either.

    • Juanunos and was there says:

      Not quite the true picture.

      Kernohan, along with Evans and Jones, had been cleared of any wrongdoing but the Governor, apparently prompted by whoever was really running Tempura at the time, refused to reinstate him or guarantee that no further action was being considered against him.

      These were basic requests that should have been answered so he decided, on the basis of legal advice, to stay in the UK until they were. It was a standoff and rather than dealing with it the Governor chose to end it by firing Kernohan.

      At Lyndon Martin's trial it emerged that in August 2008 (three months before Kernohan was sacked) Evans had sought similar assurances in respect of there being no on-going investigation into his conduct and received them.

      The irony is that if Kernohan had come back as CoP in October 2008 Tempura would almost certainly have been shut down before all the major expenses were incurred. Whatever this settlement may be it is a fraction of the total cost of the decision to sack a dedicated senior officer who had worked so hard to rebuild RCIPS after the Ivan fiasco.          

      • Anonymous says:

        How can anyone LOL this comment? Morons!

      • Anonymous says:

        ……"it was a standoff and rather than dealing with it the Governor chose to end it by firing Kernohan". Listen to me bobo, the Governor gave Kernohan FOUR warnings to come back before he dismissed him. That was common knowledge in the civil service at the time. Any Caymanian who had been in that position would have been fired longtime so please, 11:25, don't try and excuse Kernohan. Why we are paying him off is something the Attorney General needs to explain. Something is fishy.

        • John Evans says:

          You clearly only have the civil service Marl Road version of this because in response the Governor received very clear requests for clarification of Kenohan's legal position if he came back but refused to give a straight answer. Would you have been dumb enough to have returned in those circumstances?

          In my case I refused to return for Lyndon's PI in August 2008 until specific guarantees were made (which I received and still have the emails to prove it) that I was not under investigation and no further action was being considered against me. Why didn't Kernohan get the same treatment?

          I personally don't think there was ever any intention of letting Stuart Kernohan return as CoP because I'm certain everyone involved realised that his first job would have been to shut the Tempura gravy train down before it did any more damage to the Islands. If he had come back I suspect he would simply have been retained on required leave until his contract ran out at the end of 2009 and then let go anyway. 

        • anonymous says:

          So any Caymanian in the same position would have the same grounds asKernohan to pursue their own claim. 

          CNS – can we have an option where a reader can check a box and the page gives you the option of cartooning it in rather than commenting andlooking stupid.

    • Anonymous says:

      If it was as clear as you suggest there would be no payout at all. I will bet that the demand for confidentiality is not coming from Kernohan which tells me that it is the govt's bid to save face.   

    • Judean People's front says:

      Too be fired, you have to turn up in the first place.

  13. Anonymous says:

    WHY is this settlement a secret?

    As taxpayers we all have the right to know where our monies are spent.

  14. John Evans says:

    Sadly, as the years pass the BS just seems to pile higher and higher.

    According to documents I have, my 3 September 2007 search was conducted after both the then OT Director, Leigh Turner, and the Met Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, were fully engaged in setting up what became Operation Tempura.

    Despite what this story indicates, Tempura then very quickly moved away from the original allegations to simply become an expensive fishing exercise and it continued on that path until well into 2009.

    Martin Bridger's protests of innocence have a very hollow ring to them, particularly in the light of an FOI release by the Met showing that the 2008 handover of Tempura to private, ex-Met contractors was being put into effect in London long before the investigation went public on 27 March 2008. It appears that decision was made by Bridger's boss without consulting CIG and with one simple intention – to expand Tempura way beyond the original remit and extend it indefinitely.

    Sorry Martin, but 'if we had known the truth we would have been out in couple of weeks' doesn't make any sense and you know it. Based on what I've seen if you hadn't tripped yourself up with the Henderson arrest Tempura/Cealt might have gone on for a lot longer.   

    • Anonymous says:

      John….And we would have found the corrupted cops.

      • John Evans says:

        No they wouldn't because they were doing everything possible to avoid getting tangled up in any real investigations. Tempura couldn't have found its proverbial backside with both hands and a map let alone any corrupt cops. 

        How else do you explain the fact thatthey arrested Rudi Dixon on two fairly silly charges but failed to take any action against another senior RCIPS officer (now retired) despite hard evidence, including testimony from three former officers if they'd wanted it, that he had both destroyed and fabricated evidence in two separate cases. The details of this were provided to them as Tempura started to expand in November/December 2007.

        Tempura was never a serious police anti-corruption investigation and the sooner people realise that the better.

               

        • Anonymous says:

          John that is exactly my view of this whole tempura situation. Most the Caymanians on this thread are at a lost, to really see through, what really took place.

          Too much anti this and anti that.

          What baffles me is why did Bridger immediately did a 180deg. turn on the officers and the others that were involved with this covert operation.

           As my memory serves me well, Kernohan was tipped off by Net news employees,  of collusion between the Editor of the Net News and an officer of the RCIP, of divulging  clasified information.

          Bridger did not focuss his attention on the issue of the corrupt cop…scenario. He went straight for  Kernohan, yourself, Martin, and the Judge. Plus two other  cops that were not part of the Net news fiasco.

          Now you are saying, quote, "Tempura was never  a serious police anti-corruption  Investigation and the sooner people realise that the better"

          You are correct in saying so.

          This is why, now the FCO is saying, if they open thier books, it will jeopardise the Finacial Industry.

          This means they were never here to  investigate  the corrupt cops.

             

          • Juanunos and was there.... says:

            Look at the timeline.

            According to what has been made public so far – 

            Bridger was given Tempura as a sort of pre-retirement assignment in September 2007.

            In January 2008, about three months before he was due to retire, his boss put the operation out to private contractors.

            In May 2008 Bridger, as one of those private contractors, takes over the job he had already been doing for eight months at £787 (nearly CI$1100) a day, this is paid on top of his Met pension and includes a useful perks package.

            After earning all that money and having achieved nothing except costing the Islands several milion dollars he leaves in April 2009 and is replaced by a Detective Inspector on basic Met salary plus expenses.  

            Something stinks here and it's not my socks.  

  15. Anonymous says:

    So I wanda how much change did poor Burmon get? After all he was even locked down and wrongfully embarassed amongst his Caymanians. The ting in Cayman is that once you get your record scratched whether wrongfully or rightfully it is for the rest of your life. I heard that he got a few dollars for it. Sorry BO BO you are a Caymanian. Anyhow we still love you and your wonderful music.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed 02:22 it is a shame what is done to Caymanians BY Caymanians in this country.  However Time is longer than rope.

  16. And Another Ting says:

    Ona love rule Brittania rule da wa una get.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Cayman deserves this. what a slap in the face. 

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Did Cayman make the decision to terminate Mr. Kernohan? If so, do you know which Caymanian made this decision?

      • Anonymous says:
         
         
    • Anonymous says:

      No Cayman does not deserve this at all. This was a decision made by a UK-apppointed Governor while we just end up holding the bag for their blunders.

      • Anonymous says:

        From my time here, it seems to me that this is the one blot on the UK's landscape, and it certainly is dragging on. However, before you go on bludgeoning the UK about it, which I beleive incidentally you are right to do, can you have a little look in your own back yard and tell me that everything is clean, rosy, absolutely perfect, no corruption or scandals? And who is the "we" holding the bag? It is CIG holding the bag that is full (or maybe not) of money that employers and mostly expats put there with work permit fees, licence fees, tourism taxes, import taxes (we all pay that, granted)…

        • Anonymous says:

          We does everything have to be expat versus Caymanian? Obviously it is CIG and by extension all taxpayers (expats and Caymanians) holding the bag. But since you brought it up the difference is that expats can leave in which case Caymanians are left holding the bag.    

          • Anonymous says:

            Great, its coming soon anyway, that is for sure with the way things are going. However, there will be no point in anyone holding the bag, it will be empty.

  18. UHUHUH says:

     Cayman Is loaded with Inept people who are in charge, and it's costing u$ millions, and yet, they are still kept in office. There are "NO" permanent positions in government, so why do we continue to keep certain persons in office when due to their obvious miscalculations and strategic errors they have cost  the country millions in unnecessary pay-outs due to these  errors in judgement.  It is glaringly evident  that proper vetting of a the situation prior to his dismissal was never done. Thus far there have been at least six or seven cases of this type I can think of that were  totally avoidable. And yet, nobody is accountable it seems.  

    THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!

    • anonymous says:

      Not totally true. There is a large amount of people equally inept and not in charge.

    • Peanuts says:

      Dont forget the Millions for the Dock.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you know who was responsible for the wrongful termination of Mr. Kernohan? If so, please provide the name of the individual. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Who was responsible?

        The then Governor, in my opinion one of the worst Cayman has had. Yes he may have taken instruction or advice from above, but ultimately it lies with him.

        What I did hear, and on very good authority, is that he and the Tempura Boss took advice from a very well qualified individual, who took one look at the papers, advised strongly against, and was promptly excluded from the issue, a case of not hearing truth that was not helpful!

        • John Evans says:

          I'm happy to confirm that this version of what happened is almost exactly what I also heard from a very well-qualified source. Then three months later the two of them fell out andthe person who was mainly responsible for pushing through Kernohan's dismissal also got sacked.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just bear in mind who made this particular this decision – the Governor. 

  19. Anonymous says:

    If the payout came from the public purse then the public should know what was paid. what a disgrace!

  20. Mad Hatter says:

    The Attorney General is useless. How many settlements from the failed Tempura fiasco has he been involved in? shocking stuff the people continue to pay while the Civil servants screw up everyday and no one is responsible for expensive mistakes and consistent incompetence.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT HAS TAKEN PLACE

    We had 3 of our own CAYMANIANS seriously effected in this entire probe and they received pennies for there settlement and still have to live amongst their peers with much humiliation, yet the expats who easily leave the Island is paid astronomical sums of money.

    Oh but I pray that the day will come that Caymanians is afforded rights in these little Islands.

    A CAYMANIAN FOR FAIRNESS

    • Anonymous says:

      Which Caymanian was "seriously effected [sic]" in a way that would ordinarily provide any basis for compensation?  I cannot think of one name.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your eyes have finally been opened but you are not going to like what you see going forward.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is exactly what Cayman deserves. Caymanians refuse to take control of their own destiney. You all refuse to take a serious look at yourselves and make the neccessary painful steps to empower your people. You rather be the colonial minions of an empire that rules by minipulation. Don't you all remember the last attorney general?! and how you all paid out then too. How many different scenarios must you all go through?!!

      You all want to stay under mothers skirt, but yet cry when you don't get your way!! So, you all are getting what you all deserve. Either man up and step out or shut up and put up with it. 

      England will do what is in the best interest of England, what do you all expect?!! So, like i said, this is what Cayman deserves, because you all must want it.

      • Anonymous says:

        …says the national of a failed Caribbean state who would like Cayman to fail also. Obviously Cayman is not in any way, shape or form prepared for Independence.

        • Anonymous says:

          13;15

           

          Not with these inept, incompetence leaders.

        • Anonymous says:

          Please do not be so inept!!! Size or "having nothing to export" has nothing to do with whether a country floats or sinks after declaring independence. It is the manner in which the Government and people conduct themselves.

          I'm sure you are talking about our close neighbors as your example, perhaps you should educate yourself on facts before making such a comparison. Independence is never the issue, it is how you behave, idiot.

          • Anonymous says:

            Typical. You resort to insults when you cannot discuss the matter rationally. Where did I say anything about size or anything to export? Clearly "in any way shape or form" would include our lack of political maturity among other things.  

          • Anonymous says:

            Agreed!

      • Anonymous says:

        If Independence is so great what are doing in Cayman?

      • Judean People's front says:

        That's right sibling, only by dismantling the entire colonial apparatus and infrastructure through discussion and committee meetings will we know our true value.

        what did the English ever do for us anyway?