$500,000 to fight Henderson

| 18/03/2009

(CNS): According to documentation released to CNS under the Freedom of Information Law by the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, Senior Investigating Officer of the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) Martin Bridger chalked up CI$534,405.29 on lawyers and legal advisers fighting the Justice Alex Henderson Judicial Review, which found that the search of Henderson’s office and home was illegal and ultimately his arrest unlawful.

The more than half million dollars was spent on the five-day hearing, which saw the presiding judge refer to the whole matter as the “gravest abuse of process”, and included invoices from Amicus Legal Consultants, Martin Polaine’s firm, totalling some CI$23,000. Polaine reportedly assisted Bridger in other parts of Operation Tempura and therefore the invoice covered work outside of the Henderson hearing. Although one of the lowest invoices, Polaine has since been revealed to be the person who advised Bridger that the arrest was lawfully despite Cayman Islands law stating otherwise.

The rest of the $500,000 plus sum was spent specifically on lawyers and legal support that took part in the five-day review and worked purely defending Bridger and his team against the claims made by Henderson, which were ultimately upheld.

Bridger, a former Metropolitan police officer but now employed directly by Governor Stuart Jack, engaged the services of leading solicitors and counsel in London as well as here in the Cayman Islands, all of which were paid for from the public purse. The Judicial Review itself, which awarded Henderson his costs and damages totalling CI$1,275,000, actually cost the Cayman tax payer considerably more because of the money spent by Bridger on more than three different law firms.

Locally, Bridger engaged the services of Nelson & Co. Attorneys-at-Law, whose invoices totalled almost CI$132,000, but he also engaged leading London-based lawyers Peters and Peters, who instructed Nicholas Purnell QC and whose combined invoicing reached in excess of CI$291,000.

Local attorneys Ogeir were also paid over $87,000 to defend the interests of Carson Ebanks, the Justice of the Peace who signed the warrant for the unlawful searches.

The costs do not cover the time or other costs incurred by the Attorney General’s Office for its role in closing the case and negotiating the settlement with Henderson’s team, or funds paid to the presiding judge, Sir Peter Cresswell.

Although SIO Bridger is leaving the Cayman Islands at the end of April, Acting Police Commissioner James Smith recently requested a further CI$917,000 to continue with the Operation Tempura investigation and the cases relating to it that are before the courts, including the trial of Lyndon Martin and Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon, and for the new phase of the investigation – Operation Cealt. Cabinet agreed for that request to go before Finance Committee where Smith will have to justify further funding.

Meanwhile, the Auditor General’s Office is currently conducting a review of the entire SPIT spending and assessing if the public purse has received value for money since the team arrived in Cayman, reportedly in September 2007. Dan Duguay told CNS that he hopes to produce a first draft of the report before the end of this month. However, with the dissolution of parliament on 24 March he said the contents will not be made public until after the election and the swearing in of the new incumbents, when he will then be able to present his findings to the Legislative Assembly.

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Comments (8)

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  1. John Evans says:

    More personal attacks from an anonymous (although I’m pretty sure I know who you are) critic! LOL, have you got nothing better to do?

    "The more John  Evans posts on Cayman related websites the more he comes across a pompous self-serving self-publicist who would make a terrible witness at a trial."

    This is a fundamental issue of personal rights – if I can get treated like this so can any other resident of the Cayman Islands. As I’ve said before, "It’s your choice," you can either take it all like sheep or stand up and do something.

    What I do know is that my anonymous critic is almost certainly the kind of person who wouldn’t hesitate to scream, "foul," and demand massive a compensation payout if it had happened to them .

  2. Martin Polaine says:

    I hope that your readers will not think me churlish for pointing out, in relation to the second paragraph of your piece, that, if there is a provision in Cayman law which makes the offence of misconduct in public office non-arrestable, there has been no indication what that provision is. As far as I am aware, we have, instead, a concession by the Attorney General’s Office to that effect, but no accompanying rationale.

    Moreover, it seems that (before my involvement with Operation Tempura) the Attorney General’s Office was itself of the view, in relation to Messrs Scott and Dixon, that misconduct in public office was arrestable. I have made it clear that I am perplexed by the apparent change in stance between May and December 2008. I do think that an explanation is called for; particularly as, presumably, other common law offences, such as perverting the course of justice, must now also be non-arrestable in Cayman.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Perverting the course of justice is not a common law offence in Cayman – do get it right – it is the offence of defeating justice which is statute based.

      Perhaps another example of how you got it wrong!

      • Martin Polaine says:

        Well, Anonymous, are you sure that the common law offence of perverting the course of justice no longer exists in Cayman? I understand that Mr Dixon was arrested for that offence (before my time advising Tempura) and it seems that when an application for habeas corpus was made on his behalf no one at court (including Mr Dixon’s lawyers, the Solicitor General and the Chief Justice) raised the suggestion that (i) common law perverting was not an offence known to Cayman law; or (ii) it was a non-arrestable offence.  

         

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why aren’t we suing the MET to get our money back?  There must be some recourse out of this predicament.  Our people are suffering financially and all those highly paid people are taking what little money that government has that could help all the Paloma victims.  Not to mention the Ivan victims still living in trailers.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The more John  Evans posts on Cayman related websites the more he comes across a pompous self-serving self-publicist who would make a terrible witness at a trial.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sing along ….Like a ($500,000)"bridge"errrr over troubled wadders…I will layme down…umhmh…still singing?

    How dispicable! Do these people think this is Monopoly money, or is it so because it is our money?  

  6. John Evans says:

    And they are quibbling about refunding £5000 in expenses I incurred last year whist cooperating with Operation Tempura?

    LOL, talk about an odd set of priorities!