Henderson’s lawyers confirm CI$1.275M settlement

| 01/02/2009

(CNS):  Update Mon 2nd Feb Justice Alex Henderson’s legal team from Campbells Attorney’s have confirmed that the the judge has settled his case for CI$1.275 million. The sum covers both the costs and the damages awarded  regarding his unlawful arrest and the illegal searches of his home and office in September 2008 by the Special Police Investigation Team led by SIO Martin Bridger. The legal costs incurred by Bridger and the Attorney General’s office in defending the Judical Review have yet to be revealed.

It is now unclear whether or not the settlement will be formally confimed and the case dismissed in open court but it is likely to be dealt with this week with the settlement now reached. Although Henderson has made no official statement to the local media, he told The Vancouver Sun on Friday that the payment sent a clear message. "I think the size of the award will demonstrate to the public that I suffered a serious injustice," he said.

Before becoming a Grand Court Judge in the Cayman Islands, Henderson practiced law in Vancouver and was a former Supreme Court judge in British Columbia.

Following what eventually was revealed at the judicial review, presided over by Sir Peter Cresswell, to be an unlawful arrest as well as illegal searches of his home and office, the Attorney General’s Office had agreed to settle. However, the negotiations were stalled when the elected government refused to agree to any more financing for the mistakes of SPIT led by SIO Bridger, who was roundly condemned by Cresswell during the hearing. This meant that, in order for the CI government to meet Cresswell’s award to Henderson, Governor Stuart Jack had to use his reserve powers to take the money from the public purse.

The governor announced that he had received permission from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to do that last week, leaving the way clear for the AG’s office to finalise the settlement with Henderson. CNS understands that Henderson had originally asked for $2.5 million and a further hearing to determine those damages was reportedly called off late Thursday when the Cayman Islands government agreed to pay Henderson the sum of CI$1.275 million. (The sum initially reported as nearly $2 million was Candaian dollars.)

The Cayman treasury will also be paying for SPIT’s extensive legal team from the UK, which included Nicholas Purnell QC and Martin Pollaine, who allegedly gave the advise to arrest Henderson despite no arrestable offence taking place.

Although out-of-court settlements are private, Henderson has always said that any settlement should be made public as it is public money and because it will help to restore his reputation. The financial settlement is a major part of clearing Henderson’s name although he also received a public apology in court from Acting Commissioner James Smith, who was not here when Henderson was arrested and played no part in the investigation. He made the apology on behalf of the RCIPS and Bridger, who although widely criticized by the elected government and Cresswell has not yet been removed from the investigation. Both the governor and Smith continue to protect him and suggest that he acted in good faith despite the outcome.

However, Bridger may not yet be out of the firing line as The Vancouver Sun reported that another of Henderson’s lawyers, British MP Geoffrey Cox, who is also a Queen’s Counsel and member of the British Parliament, plans to raise the matter of the conduct of SPIT in the UK Parliament.CNS has also contacted the Cayman Islands All Party Parliamentary Group at the House of Commons to see if any of them are willing to ask questions on the behalf of the Cayman people regarding the investigation and its costs being born by the local tax payer.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    ..hmm British pirates, if we get down to it, who are Caymanians really, they are a mixture of Scottish, British, Jamaican heritage maybe??  Cayman was a vacant island which got populated by seafarers/pirates from overseas and ummm those living the good life have helped make Cayman the fifth largest financial center in the world…a status all Caymanians enjoy.

  2. Lynch says:

    Lost in translation it is sure funny how some folks have forgotten how this all came about. In the process & commotion of trying to translate the truth for the common people to understand it. We have become confused or mired down with personal attacks on the people who have tried to bring this matter to  light. Some folks behavior have made them very wealthy certainly more than when they came to these shores others their reputations and characters have been destroyed forever. To answer your question bracker it appears in Cayman if you have money, justice is quite affordable and if you try to do right you are frequently punished. As for those who are waiting on this money to be donated my suggestion is do not hold your breath.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s fascinating that on 28th Jan 2009 Bridger and his wife and James Smith and his wife were having a jolly old time at Harveys restaurant in George Town, as they were at the Ritz at Christmas. They must be friends, and does this mean Smith is the right person to fill the Commisioners office?

  4. Twyla M Vargas says:


    It is only Judge Henderson who will sincerely know how much damaage has been done.  My opinion is,  and I stand to be corrected, that  because of his choice  to remain on the bench,   while these decisions were being made, that too much damage was  not done.   Judge Henderson, and only he knows what his intentions were when he were arrested.  This is a very ticklish case where fingers have been pointing, people have been catching hell,  and even the Governor has been nailed to the Cross.    Now the question is about money (THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL)   and is everyone satisfied that 2,000.000. 000.dollars damage was done.  Apparently some people dont think so, while a few others agree.

    I will not make comments about the arrest as such,  because I am not fully versed on the contents of the evidence, however, in its decision making I  do not have reason enough to put blame on the Governor.    Has anyone ever thought that maybe it was the correct course of action he had to take?.    In all of this wrangling and tangling, I feel sad for the people of Cayman, and I am going to give my opinion again, which I stand to be correct  if necessary, in a civilized way.    I find us being exploited in many ways from outsiders.   Caymanians are to more careful, because our sweetness is mistaken for weakness.    Take a breath of fresh air,  you are on an Island, an Island where there used to be loving, passive and sharing people.  The influnce has changed us  sadly to say.   I too would like to know what is Judge Henderson’s decision after he receive his 2,000.000.000.  I however can make some suggestion, which he may consider, but dont have to take.    (1) Stay on the bench and continue your work in the Cayman Islands.  and  Donate a portion of your wealth  to charity and "BE BLESSED."  or  (2) you can walk  away with  2,000.000.000. and dont look back.    The Royal Cayman Island Police should not be blamed, because it was a private investigation by a private team from London, with the results, Cayman People must pay.  The sincere, passive minded People of Cayman should not be blamed either.

    We may not realize it, but Life is shorther than we think.  No matter how fast and furious we live our number is going to be called sooner or later.  Laying up treasures on earth wont make it, so lets stop and smell the roses.  Be blessed.

  5. Bracker says:

    Yes, many are asking the same question……what about compensation to the others that were unlawfully arrested? This Henderson’s arrest was no different from Burmon Scott’s.

  6. Eagle's Eye says:

    Injustices… from every angle.

    As a matter of fact, mostly everything our Government does is an injustice to our Country and/or to our People directly. Reflect… Recall… Think about it!!!

    Eagle’s Eye

  7. Eagle's Eye says:

    Bridger and the other British Boo Boos make their BLUNDERS, now Cayman has to bare the cost of the Brits Blunders. Now THAT is the REAL case of  INJUSTICE here, not Henderson. Maybe Bridger thought he had all his ducks in a row, but he was shotting blanks.

    Eagle’s Eye

  8. Anonymous says:

    For all the other people that were arrested unlawfully shouldn’t the be compensated as well regardless of there rank in the community.

    • Anonymous says:

      Given the failure of the PPM to improve the lives of ordinary Caymanians, it would seem that this judgment provides at least one route that Caymanians could take to get rich in their country  – and that is to hope that they are falsely arrested at least once in their life by the RCIPS.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually the PPM has improved the lives of ordinary Caymanians if you are counting victimisation by the UDP against all dissenters. Gone is the culture of fear and intimidation. Gone are the days when the political ‘boss’ calls up your employer and demands that you are fired because of critical letters you write to the press.      

  9. Anonymous says:

    What exactly were the Governor’s instructions to the Attorney General?

    Did the Governor’s instructions to the Attorney General effectively preempt any judicial decision regarding which party ought to pay the bills arising from the SPIT fiasco? If as reported it was the Governor who decided that the people of the Cayman Islands are to pay for his deficiencies and those of the very special constables that he imported, is it possible that the actions of the Governor may have breached the European Convention on Human Rights? I am not an attorney, but I can read Article 6 which indicates among other things that:

    “ In the determination of his civil rights and obligations …… everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”


    Article 13 indicates that:

    “ Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”

    Any decision by the Governor that the people of the Cayman Islands must pay for mistakes they did not commit clearly determines what my economic civil obligations are, as well as those of other Caymanians. Clearly the Governor is neither independent nor impartial in deciding whether the Caymanian people or his bosses out to pay for SPIT’s treatment of Justice Henderson, yet from newspaper reports it would appear that he has apparently determined the obligations of Caymanians in respect of the travesty that is the SPIT investigation. He is no doubt aware that the very senior judge who heard Judge Henderson’s case questioned why the Caymanian people should pay for the mistakes of SPIT rather than the Governor’s minions and bosses. Is it possible that this influenced his decision to intervene to make sure that neither he nor his bosses had to pay? No person should be judge in his own case yet on the face of it, it appears that this is exactly what the Governor claims to be entitled to do. It is complete nonsense for the Governor to say that he was just following what Sir Peter Cresswell indicated ought to be done.

    If the Governor’s actions, whether sanctioned by his masters in London or not, violate Article 6 of the European Convention, then the fact that he purports to act within his Constitutional powers is irrelevant. The European Convention trumps his Constitutional powers. The issue of standing may exist but ought not to be insurmountable at least in my inexpert opinion. There seems to be non-criminal case law on this Article 6 point about political appointees interfering in judicial processes which may assist but that is a matter for attorney’s to decide.

    I hope that the Attorney General will consider this point even though he is required to answer to the Governor rather than our elected officials. If the Attorney General is obliged to be the Governor’s puppet then perhaps the Caymanian Bar Association or the local Law Society will look into this point for the benefit of all Caymanians, if they have not already. If ever there was ever a situation in which pro bono work is justified, the outrageous conduct of this Governor and his bosses is such a situation. Is the Human Rights Committee interested in collective human rights of Caymanians in this context?

    I am glad that our elected government has refused to vote more money for SPIT, but this is clearly not sufficient. I for one would much rather see the elected Government vigorously supporting a legal challenge to the Governor’s outrageous decisions, including the apparent decision to make sure neither he nor his bosses have to pay for the mistakes of their minions. Merely refusing to sign the cheques without actively opposing the Governor’s actions by all means available is not enough. We expect the elected Government to do more.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So tell me…  Will Justice Henderson remain on the bench here in Cayman or retire to his homeland.  With your legal fees all taken care of Justice Henderson, show the people of Cayman that you do care for them and that this is not their fault and make some generous donations.  Hopeful Caymanian. 

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s good to see that Mr Justice Henderson has been vindicated. However, I would suggest that the noble and proper thing to do on his part would be to donate the compensation payable to him to local charities. There are a number of precedents for this set by politicians and dethroned monarchs and it would go a long way to restoring the damaged credibility of the judiciary to see it’s members demonstrating their goodwill to the people of Cayman in this manner. It is not enough that justice is done, it should be seen to be done. This would, I think, put the issue to  rest.


  11. Anonymous says:

    Regrettably it is too little for the unwarranted unjust and totally deplorable actions of Bridger; maybe if Bridger was made to pay the amount agreed personally it would be acceptable.

    So long as Bridger remains in Cayman the RCIPS shall remain a joke and Jack is simply spineless and woeful.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I do not disagree for one bit that Justice Henderson deserves all, if not more, of the compensation that he is to be granted for the injustice brought against him by Martin Bridger, Stuart Jack and Martin Polaine. What I am extremely pissed about, is how this injustice could come from the highest levels of the UK against it´s overseas territory, and yet ¨you and me¨ will have to bear the burden and costs of their absolute incompetence. Can you imagine how many aspiring Caymanians could have been provided with scholarships for tertiary education to some of the top universities in the world with these funds ????? What is more troubling, is that we still have Stuart Jack and the newly appointed Act. Commissioner of Police James Smith, literally insisting that they support Martin Bridger and their investigation, even though it´s an absolute ¨SCREW UP¨ !!!!!! Only in the Cayman Islands today, can this S— happen without a strong stance being taken to the streets. However, the people´s patience are wearing very thin these days and soon you will see exactly what Caymanians can do, and will do, concerning Bull—- like this !!!! Just you wait and see, just you wait and see !!!!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Modern Day Piracy!!!

    I find it SOOO disgusting that our Government, due to the decision that was made solely by the Governor and the team of modern day "pirates" sent by the UK, has to pay out this money for something they did not even instigate!!

    Shame on you Mr Jack (or whoever is behind you) to stand by and allow this to happen to  our country…

    Our governement could use that 2 million to assist many charity organizations, poor people in the society, Cayman Brac people, and elsewhere. But no!! Their hands were tied with this total injustice done both to Justice Henderson and our people.

    The British "Pirates", have been living a good life in Cayman, staying in expensive accomodations on 7 Mile Beach, living the high life, looting millions from our coffers… and for what?  What really have they accomplished other than "rape" and "plunder " and "loot"??? Thier actions is what was called "piracy"  many years ago!!

    When is the Governor going to put a halt to this madness???

    I think we should do a petition to get him out of here before more money has to be paid out.