Bridger says computer safe

| 13/10/2008

(CNS):  In response to questions submitted to the Senior Investigator on the special probe into allegations of police corruption, or ‘Operation Tempura’, by CNS, Martin Bridger has said that an electronic audit trail will protect the integrity of any court documents during his examination of Justice Alex Henderson’s computer.

In the wake of numerous concerns raised by members of the local legal profession and other parts of the offshore community regarding Bridger’s seizure of Henderson’s computer following his arrest, as well as suspicions that Bridger and his team of investigators are tapping phones, CNS submitted a number of questions to the Senior Investigator. Bridger said that in respect to the potentially sensitive material held by Justice Henderson, the team was working closely with his instructed solicitors on these matters.

Examination of a computer is an examination to identify any material relevant to the investigation,” he added. Any legally professionally privileged material will be isolated and will not be examined, and any material relating to cases being heard/to be heard by Justice Henderson will be identified, bookmarked and isolated. An electronic audit trail will be added to any such item and made available to the court administrator so that the court will be reassured that the integrity of any court document has not been compromised.

Last week Henderson received approval for his request for a judicial review of his arrest and the search of his home and office by Bridger’s team in order to have the court review the legitimacy of two search warrants which resulted in his computer being seized. He has also filed an application to declare the searches unlawful seeking to have all items seized from his home and offices returned; damages for trespass “to land and goods” and “unlawful interference with goods among other things.

Aside from Bridger’s seizure ofthe computer, issues regarding his use of electronic surveillance have also been cause for concern in the community. Asked on numerous occasions if he is wire tapping and under what authority or law, Bridger has persistently refused to answer and he ignored the question again when submitted in writing from CNS.

He did however insist that, contrary to some theories making the rounds, his investigation into corruption within the police service is not a smoke screen for a far wider probe into the offshore sector. He said there was no truth to that accusation and no aspect of the investigation affects Cayman’s financial services or its regulatory system.

He acknowledged the potential the investigation had on Cayman’s reputation and said it was not taken lightly.

However, it remains an independent investigation and the investigators have to follow the evidence,” Bridger said, despite the criticisms made by the Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, who suggested in an April ruling which was released in the public domain this week that the evidence was not pointing to any criminal activity.

In a long statement issued to the media on Friday evening (9 October) Bridger dismissed the ruling of the Chief Justice and insisted that both the Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones were still under investigation for misconduct in a public office.

Despite more at least $1.68 million and a year-long investigation, the basic premise of Bridger’s enquiry seems to be based on the concept that there was some deliberate intent by Kernohan and Jones against Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis when they began investigating allegations made by Lyndon Martin that the Deputy Commissioner was leaking information to local publisher Desmond Seales.

Bridger suggests the two officers broke the law when they encouraged Martin and his colleague John Evans to see if they could find evidence in the Net News office that there was indeed a leak from the RCIPS. In his ruling Smellie makes it clear that as the Commissioner of Police Kernohan would have an obligation to enquire into any such allegations even if they proved to be unfounded and that there was no evidence that Kernohan at any time thought Martin was lying and was pursuing the investigation for ulterior motives. The judge suggests quite the opposite when he asks in his ruling that if the two senior officers did not believe that Martin was telling the truth why would they enlist his help in trying to find the documents that would prove it was true.

“Indeed, one may ask rhetorically, if there was no genuine belief that the incriminatory material really existed what then would have been the purpose of seeking Martin’s and Evan’s assistance?”

The Chief Justice has criticised what Bridger has described as his search for the truth and has suggested that his entire case seems to be based on a mistaken notion cited by Ennis that Jones and Kernohan were somehow threatened by him and because of that pursued Martin’s allegations even though they knew they were fabricated.

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