Dixon set gamblers free

| 07/08/2008

The details of the four charges against Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon, which include two counts of misconduct in a public office and two counts of doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice, were released by his counsel today, when Michael Alberga said that the incidents were widely known. After a brief court appearance, Dixon said he would have his day in court regarding the charges against him which relate to two incidents, one in June 2003 and another in April 2004. Both involved the Deputy Commissioner allegedly instructing other police officers to release people who had been arrested for offences relating to illegal gambling and DUI.

During the court hearing Alberga asked for Dixon to be released on his own recognisance and without bail conditions. “He has been a police officer for thirty years and is a reasonable and responsible person who is well known to the community,” Alberga said, adding that his client had consistently cooperated with the independent investigation even before he discovered he was to be charged.

Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale noted the seriousness of the charges and said that the bail conditions would remain. However, she told the court that he would be allowed to travel to the Sister Islands provided he notified the police and the court. She also said that should he wish to travel overseas, if details were again given to the court and police, he would have his passport temporarily returned. The bail conditions also included surrendering a $10,000 bond, that the Deputy Commissioner return each night to his residence and that he not interfere with the witnesses in the case. The court discussed reconvening for a Preliminary Inquiry on 23 or24 September.

According to documents released by Alberga, the charges against Dixon are concerned with two specific incidents. On 22 June 2003, he is said to have instructed Chief Inspector Reginald Branch of the Cayman Brac Police Station that it was the policy of the police not to prosecute for illegal gambling and to release two men, both members of Lyndon Martin’s family who had been arrested for illegal gambling, and to give them back the cash and gambling registers which had been seized. On 7 April 2004, Dixon reportedly directed Inspector Burmon Scott of George Town Police Station to release a man who was being held on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. In relation to each incident Dixon faces one charge of misconduct and one of perverting the course of justice — hence the four charges.

The man in charge of the independent investigation, Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger, said it was very serious for a Deputy Commissioner to face these kinds of accusations and that it was Attorney General Samuel Bulgin who had made the decision, based on the evidence and the severity of the accusations, that bringing charges against such a senior officer was warranted.

He also noted that, just because charges were now brought against Dixon, his work was far from finished. He said that, aside from the investigation regarding the charges against Lyndon Martin and the enquiries surrounding Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and Chief Inspector John  Jones, he also now had more information from the community, which he and his team were assessing and which could lead to further inquiries. Bridger added that he would make every effort to address all of the integrity issues raised.

He refused to make comment on whether or not further charges would be brought against Dixon and offered no comment on what he believed the motives of the Deputy Commissioner were. However he said, “In any crime there is always a motive.”

Bridger said the public debate now should focus on the need to address issues of integrity within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) and that he was please that significant numbers of people were now coming forward. “Once we have addressed the current integrity issues by fairly following the evidentiary trails, it comes to the long term systems that need to be created to prevent future misconduct,” he said. “Once I leave there needs to be something in place to stop things from happening again, such as preventative strategies that will reduce the opportunity for inappropriate behaviour.”

He also said he was encouraged by the debate about introducing an independent police complaints commission of some kind, whereby people could be confident that the police would not be investigating themselves.

Anyone who has information related to any of the enquiries can call Senior Investigating Officer, Martin Bridger on 927 2981.

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