Archive for December 24th, 2008

Rapist charged on Christmas Eve

| 24/12/2008 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 22-year-old man has appeared in court on Christmas Eve Wednesday, 24 December, charged with rape, possession of an imitation firearm and indecent assault. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said that Fabian Anthony Reid was arrested by police on Friday, 19 December following a report made to officers in the early hours of that morning.

 

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Christmas Message

| 24/12/2008 | 1 Comment

A Christmas message from Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts: Christmas greetings to all citizens and residents who make up the family that is the Cayman Islands, and a warm welcome to our visitors as well. This season, and indeed throughout the year, it has become even more obvious that family is one of mankind’s greatest gifts – whether defined as being a family of many nationalities, faces and aspirations; or of being a family in the more traditional sense.

And it is great because in the family setting, one is free to experience other wonderful gifts – such as understanding, and ambition. To some, these may appear to be strange presents. They can’t be tied up with pretty bows, or wrapped in shiny paper. But these gifts were embodied in Christ – our Emanuel, our God with us.

It is Christ who defines family; Christ who demonstrates true understanding; and Christ who still dares to be ambitious in His love for us, who still says it’s possible for humans to reach higher.
These may seem like lofty, abstract thoughts, but they are manifested very simply.

As I reflect on Christmas, for example, I naturally think back to a time when children were thrilled to see daddy coming home from sea. Not only did he offer mama a much-deserved break, daddy sweetened our quiet, happy lives with candy, a new toy, and sometimes new shoes!

The gifts of family, understanding and ambition are all in that memory. And just as He gave us goodness back then, our Heavenly Father is giving us goodness right now. Indeed, as we think back over the past 12 months, we see these gifts in action. They have caused us not only to endure but in many instances, do well – in spite of the challenges, during what has been a watershed time for our people.

Looking around the Caribbean, to the Americas and even to Europe, and even farther beyond, we see that trials and hardships respect no person. Human tragedy and natural disasters impact so many people. Economic hardships grip the world and we, too, feel its fingers tightening around us.

Nevertheless, every day on the streets of the Cayman Islands, we still encounter men and women, and boys and girls, who are filled with the loving, caring spirit of Christ.
And like Him, we realise that we are our brother’s keeper.

We saw this after Hurricane Paloma struck all three islands, but particularly Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Residents in those Islands have since worked hard to rebuild their homes and businesses, and their families and friends in Grand Cayman were quick to extend a helping hand, having had recent, firsthand experience with a nasty storm called Ivan.

This empathy is founded on the deep understanding that family members share.
So too, we found understanding in the many NGOs, who offered vital assistance after Paloma, and throughout the year 2008.

God’s blessing to these organisations, and to the many PTAs, church groups and service clubs who endeavoured to lead our youth and to protect the helpless – especially the elderly, the children and the abused.

It is true that we are our brother’s keeper.

Being family as we are, we also can give to each other the gift of understanding. As a country, we have made great strides in working to improve this.

But our understanding needs to reach out beyond our shores. As time marches on, the world gets smaller. We therefore recognise that while we are immediate family here in the Cayman Islands, we have extended family that we need to hold as close as possible.

In the region, and also with the UK, we aim to improve their understanding of our culture – of our subtle nuances, and of our not-so-subtle differences. In turn, we seek to know more about them – their goals, their visions.

It is only by understanding that we can all move forward, maintaining our identities and yet becoming more unified on shared ideals.

This understanding, then, leads to another gift: The gift of ambition. We in Cayman may have a different approach to some issues that are on the global agenda, but that makes us no less ambitious for growth, prosperity, and social harmony.

So then, as a government and as a people, we must encourage each other to move in positive directions, overcoming hurdles and staying on course.

This Christmas, I want to urge everyone to think ambitiously about 2009. Think about what you can say, or what you can do, to further the advancement of these Islands.

If we all accept this as our personal responsibility, we will find ourselves giving and receiving gifts not just during Christmas, but during every day of the year.

Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and friends this year. But let us remember that God has a plan for us all.

I’m sure that in keeping with tradition, many of us have wish lists, either in our minds or written on paper. But I trust that at the top of each one – numbered even higher than iPods, new clothes, and flat-screen TVs – we have our collective wish for family unity; understanding; and a new year that brims with ambition.

Let us begin 2009 with the blessings that only come from the Source of all gifts – our Lord Jesus Christ!

May God bless us with a peaceful Christmas, and may our families have a very safe and Happy New Year!

 

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Top cop says sorry to judge

| 24/12/2008 | 16 Comments

(CNS): For the first time since his arrest the police have made a public apology to Justice Alex Henderson and admitted in open court that both the arrests and search warrants were unlawful. The latest Acting Police Commissioner, James Smith, stood to make the apology on behalf of the RCIPS and also members of the Special Police Investigating Team, SIO Martin Bridger and Richard Coy, who arrested Henderson on 24 September 2008.

As the Attorney General’s office, now representing the police with regards to the Henderson case, had not contested the claims in the second judicial review before presiding judge Sir Peter Cresswell, the visiting expert judge made the official declarations that the arrest was unlawful on 23 December in the Grand Court, following which Smith also made his public apology.

After the reading of his judgement on the arrest and his official declaration, Cresswell said it was inappropriate to comment too much since the issue of damages was still to be resolved but that the circumstances warranted a very speedy resolution because of the seriousness of the errors committed by Senior Investigators and the fact that Henderson was a serving judge.

“The extraordinary failure of Mr Bridger and his adviser has caused very serious damage to Justice Henderson and his family,” said Cresswell. He pointed to the fact that the judge had not only suffered unlawful conduct but it was most regrettable that there had been such a delay on the part of the police to admit it was unlawful. “These extraordinary failures will have a wider impact,” he added. “It is important to the Cayman Islands that the police should act properly to all citizens.”

During his ruling Cresswell cited numerous media statements and correspondence where neither Bridger nor the governor had taken the opportunity to admit that the arrests and warrants were unlawful and apologise to Henderson.

However, he allowed Smith to take the stand and make a short and full apology. Smith told the judge that while he had only been in post for a few weeks the first thing he realised about the special investigation on his arrival was that an apology was required for Henderson.

“As Acting Commissioner of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, I wish to offer my heartfelt unreserved apology on behalf of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to Justice Henderson for personal distress, reputational damages and professional embarrassment caused to him and his family as a result of the unlawful arrest and the subsequent unlawful searches of both his home and work place,” said Smith. “Martin Bridger and Richard Coy also wish to express sincere apologies to Justice Henderson and his family for the unlawful arrest and searches.”

The apology was an adaptation of the one first given to Cresswell when the hearing opened on Monday 22 December, which he had noted did not acknowledge that the arrest and searches were unlawful.

Once the revised apology had been read, Cresswell thanked the Acting Commissioner but then quickly moved on to the need for both parties to try to reach agreement on damages, avoiding the need for a hearing, and bringing a speedy resolution. However, he established a hearing schedule in case a settlement could not be reached out of the court room. The timetable was considerably shorter that the legal representatives had requested and Cresswell was unsympathetic to requests for more time by Douglas Schofield, the assistant solicitor general representing Bridger and the police . Cresswell said his client had made serious errors and there was a need to have it addressed quickly. The hearing if required was set for mid-February 2009.

Schofield confirmed that Henderson’s legal team’s costs would me met by the Cayman Islands government and that Finance Committee would resume on 15 January to appropriate those funds, but no offer was made for any interim damages payment on account.

One other issue which also arose during the day’s proceedings was of particular concern to Cresswell as it involved the court receiving incorrect information during the first judicial review in October and he was very keen to correct the situation.

During the complex revelations of the original judicial review, which found the search warrants issued against Henderson to search his home and office to be illegal, the court heard some of the advice for the drafting of the information on which the warrants were issued came from Andre’ Mon Desir, who was the former Special Counsel to the special investigation and practicing in Cayman.

However, after the ruling was handed down on 29 October Mon Desir contacted the Cayman media to inform them that he had never advised the investigating team on the Henderson case. Schofield told the judge that the legal advice on the information had actually come from Martin Polaine the legal adviser from the UK who was not familiar with Cayman Islands law and who had also given Bridger the advice for which Henderson’s arrestwas based.

On discovering the court had been misinformed, Cresswell said that if it was wrong he should have been told at the time in the interests of accuracy. More importantly he said the issue of the qualifications of who was advising the police was hugely material to the first judicial review. “I express profound disquiet that the court was misinformed,” he noted. Making a footnote to his original ruling, he said that Mon Desir should be sent a copy explaining what had happened.

When the review was over, Henderson’s legal representatives Ramon Alberga, QC, and Shaun McCann of Campbells expressed their pleasure with the outcome. However, Bridger, who had been present throughout the proceedings, made no comment on Cresswell’s damning condemnation of his “extraordinary failures”.

Smith said that while the situation was still in litigation it was inappropriate for him to make comment but he was hopeful that he would be able to comment more on the wider situation with Operation Tempura once the Henderson chapter was closed.

     

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