Kernohan files suit against Jack, Bridger, Smith

| 26/05/2009

(CNS): UPDATED 1:50pm — Claiming that “extraordinary revelations – heretofore unknown to the Cayman Islands public – involving the Governor and high-ranking elected officials, would be revealed at trial,” Former Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan has announced that he has filed for damages against Governor Stuart Jack on behalf of the Government of the Cayman Islands, Martin Bridger, the Acting Commissioner of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, and the Attorney-General of the Cayman Islands. “They will answer for their actions in suitable forum, namely a court of law,” Kernohan said in a release.

Attorneys for Kernohan Monday filed a not unexpected writ in Grand Court yesterday, seeking what he describes as “substantial damages” for wrongful dismissal. As well as claiming that placing him on required leave on 27 March, 2008, was unlawful, the writ says that not permitting him to leave the island without permission “amounted to false imprisonment”.

The governor’s response so far has been minimal. Alan Drury, Acting Head of the Governor’s Office, said, "All I can say at the moment is that the governor is aware of this, and is taking legal advice on the matter." Similarly, a one line statement from Acting Commissioner of Police James Smith said only that the matter had been referred to legal counsel. There has as yet been no reaction from Martin Bridger, the senior officer of the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT).

The statement issued by Kernohan’s spokesperson, David Legge, said the Former Commissioner’s legal team “had challenged the Governor to cite in law the source of his authority to impose conditions or restrictions on Kernohan, since the former Commissioner had not been charged with any offense. To date, no legal citation of authority has been forthcoming.”

The release noted that on 30 April this year, Acting Police Commissioner James Smith issued a short statement saying the investigation regarding Kernohan was over and that no criminal charges would be filed. “The Governor to date has not issued an apology nor commented on Mr. Kernohan’s exoneration,” the statement read.

In the release, Kernohan is quoted as saying, “Recently I received a belated confirmation there was no wrong-doing on my part. I have waited too long a period to be exonerated and subjected to a process and actions from individuals who have severely damaged my reputation internationally and unfortunately that of the Cayman Islands. The individuals responsible for this fiasco will not walk away without being held rightfully accountable for what they have done. They will be held accountable in a thorough and transparent judicial process and everyone on a local and international basis will know what has transpired since July 2007 in the Cayman Islands. I look forward to facing them in court.”

The writ filed late yesterday afternoon by Mr. Kernohan’s attorneys, refers at length to a press conference convened on 27 March, 2008, by Governor Jack, Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger, and the newly incoming Acting Commissioner David George. “At that media briefing, both Governor Jack and Martin Bridger stated that Kernohan was not a target of any investigation,” the statement notes, but says the press conference “was of such tone and nature as to imply by innuendo serious misconduct and/or criminal activity” by Kernohan, “ causing serious damage to his professional and personal reputation, and to the jurisdiction of the Cayman Islands . . . The innuendo was false.”

“The writ suggests that both Governor Jack and Martin Bridger knowingly misrepresented what they knew to be the truth at the March 27, 2008, media briefing. Both defendants at the briefing agreed that Kernohan was not under investigation and implied he was being put on ‘required leave’ to give Bridger and his team of Metropolitan Police officers free rein to pursue their probe into possible wrongdoing within the RCIPS,” the statement says.

“However, the writ points out that on February 20, March 13 and March 20 (notably dates before the press conference) Met investigators, represented by the Special Counsel to the Governor, had applied to the Chief Justice to obtain search warrants of Kernohan’s home and office. The Chief Justice denied the search warrants application.” Kernohan’s statement claims that if the Met investigators, being advised by the Governor’s personal lawyer, was petitioning for search warrants, this implied that Kernohan was under investigation, “and statements to the contrary at the press conference were knowingly false.”

It continues, “On April 4, 2008, unbeknownst to Kernohan until six months later, the Chief Justice issued his 51-page formal ruling, accusing Bridger and his team of conducting a ‘fishing expedition’ in their desire to search Kernohan’s premises. The ruling, in effect, exonerated Kernohan by stating that he had acted in the line of duty and no criminal act had been committed by him.”

The release states that Governor Jack and Martin Bridger nevertheless withheld that information and, according to the writ, failed to reinstate the Kernohan to his position either shortly after 4 April 2008 or at all, though there were no grounds to maintain him on required leave.

According to the writ, “During the months of April, May, June, July and August 2008, [Martin Bridger] continued to make statements to the print and broadcast media concerning [Kernohan’s] position, which statements were widely reported, including on the internet, giving rise to yet further innuendo and speculation . . . The innuendo was false,” and “malicious.”

In a letter dated 18 November, 2008, according to the writ, Governor Jack “summarily dismissed the Plaintiff from his position as Commissioner of the RCIPS.” The letter “discloses no reasonable grounds for the dismissal, summary, or otherwise, of the Plaintiff.”

The writ further states that the governor’s “breaches of the Contract of Employment have caused the Plaintiff to suffer foreseeable damage to his professional and personal reputation, for which he is entitled to be compensated, both by way of general damages, and for future loss of earnings, as he will or may be unable to obtain a replacement position of similar professional standing as a result of the wrongful stigma attaching to him by reason of [Governor Jack’s] conduct.

“Further, the matters set out above amount to misfeasance in public office on the part of [Governor Jack and Martin Bridger]. Further, the matters set out above amount to defamation of character, both slanderous and, in relation to printed material, libelous, on the part of [Governor Jack and Martin Bridger].”

To conclude, Kernohan stated, “Jack and Bridger have wasted at least $6 million on a misplaced mission that has decapitated the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, maligned and destabilized the judiciary, and destroyed the lives of innocent individuals and their families. They will answer for their actions in suitable forum, namely a court of law.”

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  1. John Evans says:

    The helicopter was perfectly viable until local politics and what looks like in-fighting amongst senior RCIPS officers got in the way.

    When I reported on the Air Support Unit back in 2007 there were no problems with the import and operation of the helicopter. It seems these all started to develop as the implications of having a 24/7 airborne operation became apparent to the people whose ‘businesses’ would suffer from the enhanced police presence and pressure was applied to delay the project.

    Based on some of the information being fed to Net News and the alleged source I also suspect that there was disagreement within the RCIPS about either the desirabilty of the helicopter or who was ultimately going to be responsible for its operation.

    Stuart Kernohan is in no way responsible for the fact that the helicopter is still stuck in the USA,  you need to look much closer to home to find the culprits.

  2. Caymanian to the bone says:

    My opinion is; Before any settlement ismade to Kernohan, we need to consider/remember the almost $ 2 million CI for the "invisible helicopter" that was purchaed directly by Kernohan for the RCIPS and CI Govt. from the UK.

    The UDP Government should sell the helicopter for the best price that they can get for it, which will surely be less than what was paid for it, bearing in mind the shipping cost from across "the pond" and the "fixing up" cost in Louisiana. The difference should then be deducted from any assigned/awarded amount to Kernohan in his law suit at Grand Court. 

    Isn’t that fair to the Cayman Islands Tax Payers ????

    However, at the end of the day we still got "Shafted, Stiffed and Enron-ed" by those whom enter our shores in disguise and practicing good ole know it all "Professionalism" 

    They are not finished with us yet, just you wait and see what "Operation Cealt" will reveal soon.

    And then, we will start all over again !!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    • Anonymous says:

      i say, just give him the helicopter and that will be that,,,,,,,

      cig gets rid of an albatross and kernohan gets the helicopter he found so dear to his heart…

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Governor started this drama and look now, he is leaving us in the mess..

    That’s what we get for employing Kernoham when we have suitable Caymanians here for the JOB. 

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a very unfair statement, Stuart Kernohan is an outstanding Police Officer who, given the opportunity, would have served the Caymanian people very well, he is eminently more quallified to have done the job than any other serving Officer.

      As an expat, I am ashamed that the British Governor and Martin Bridger have made such a complete mess of this affair and I only hope that justice can prevail within this jurisdiction to enable Stuart Kernohan to be properly compensated for all the unwarranted slander he has received.

      Either way the truth will out in the fullness of time, but be under no illusion, this will cost the Cayman Government a great deal more than Hendersen did, the best they can do to rectify this sorry situation is to settle his claim and put the whole silly affair behind them because it is not going away and a lot of people will end up looking very embarrased as a consequence of any litigation. 

  4. Anonymous says:
    Good on you boss, you have been treated in a shameful manner, and I hope you are appropriately compensated for what you have been put through.
  5. Anonymous says:

    This is going to be really interesting …. who knew what and when… who told who …… and who covered what up.  I am looking forward to the next chapter in the unbelievable saga that is politics/ government/ the police/ the judiciary of the cayman islands.  I am saving it up for my memoirs because you couldn’t make this stuff up!

    By the way to the person who said 12 bucks odd – I think you are out by about 500 grand!  Perhaps they will bring Cresswell J out again as he is so up to speed on it all!


  6. Anonymous says:

    I am betting the most he will win is $5 bucks and a double whopper from Burger King,otherwords nothing!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I guess we will all know sooner or later who his "real pals and close friends" were…I can’t for all the sh*$ to hit the fan!!

    Better get the $2 million back for the helicopter and then use that money to pay him!!

    This is what you call some "drama."

  8. Anonymous says:

    "Caymanians are only able to now see everything along political party lines.  Everything a UDP v PPM issue? Sheesh!!"

    Better than Caymanians v Foreingners!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians are only able to now see everything along political party lines.  Everything a UDP v PPM issue? Sheesh!!

    It just reeks off this welfare-state mentality that Caymanians are developing. Government is the answer / problem for everything in the world, including everybody’s personal needs. Its irritating!

    Everything is measured by PPM or UDP!

    Frigging get a clue !  The world does not revolve around Cayman’s two lil trifling political "parties" and no one would bat an eye if the PPM had gotten back in either way. Let’s be real. The lawsuit will proceed and either a case made out or not.  Fortunately, the court will have no regard whatsoever to public opinion of what the incumbent government could have, would have or should have done orwhether a UDP government would have acted differently in the same circumstances – b e c a u s e   i t s   n o t   r e l e v a n t.






  10. ananimus says:

    Foreingners picing on folks agin.  Dat spelin natzi gon come doun on u lik know tumorow.  demfarkin boo-stairds askin fer it, pesst mi ohf!


  11. anonymous says:

    We need a betting pool on the outcome. I say he only gets less than $200K for his troubles (plus costs and interest) based on:

    • Wage loss should be negligible, if he’s been on salary while on "required leave".  If not then add his would-be salary for the duration.
    • Reputation damage is worth a little but not that much.
    • PITA factor, minimal or zero.

    Bets anyone?

  12. Foreigner says:

    @ Foreingners Gettin Rich From Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/26/2009 – 13:37. ->

    Learn how to spell buddy. Until Caymanians like you learn how to spell, we foreigners will keep making money off you.

    Just incase you don’t realis(z)e it, it is not spelled "Foreingners"


  13. Jedi Dread says:

     Kernohan, my good man…

    Bring to Light, that which has been concealed by the Darkness (of men’s souls)…

    "And the walls goin’ come, a-tumbling down…" – Ziggy

    Cayman, Welcome to Jericho.

    – Jedi Dread –

  14. Synonymous says:

    “Jack and Bridger have wasted at least $6 million on a misplaced mission that has decapitated the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, maligned and destabilized the judiciary, and destroyed the lives of innocent individuals and their families. They will answer for their actions in suitable forum, namely a court of law.”

    Give ’em both barrels! 

    PS:-  This has nothing to do with UDP v PPM, since neither Jack or Bridger ever answered to the local leadership.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cayman and its government is a joke to the world, and the world is laughing at us.

    Lets get it together Cayman!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Foreingners Gettin Rich From the Cayman Islands!!!

  17. Caymanite says:

    Ooohhhh yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh…….Banga Langa Langa…….

    Never liked the guy personally, he always seemed a little iffy but I have to say, reading that, he has a darn good case.

    I estimate he is looking for about $3 million for his inconvenience.


  18. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think any government can be blamed for this.  The RCIPS falls under the Governor in the constitution.  Gazetted officers are appointed by the Governor and not by the Star Chamber which used to pose as the Public Service Commission.

    So, no matter if it is UDP, PPM or Indies who are in office, they are powerless … including when it comes to having to pay the bill.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Why is this a PPM issue? Wasn’t it the governor who ordered the investigation? Isn’t he the one who has power of the police and courts?


  20. Clearviewer says:

    What the UDP or the PPM for that matter should do, is Kernohan you may come back, pay his back salary that Bridger and Jack allowed this oversight to happen, but for Gods sake do not allow him to take his position back. Enough, is enough and all this B/s==== have to stop I am telling you all this is Englands way of ruining this country, sit down here and take it , its coming.She is going to break us down,

  21. Iron Wood says:

    Lets see the UDP take on this new issue now!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Bridger’s left cayman. Stuart Jack is leaving in 6 months.

    I am gathering that Kernohan is suing both of them personally, and hope that the people of the Cayman Islands do not foot the bill for this.

  23. Anonymous says:

    PPM mismanagement.

    Has PPM taken a more hands on approach the Cayman Islands wouldn’t be facing such a mess.

    • Voter says:

      This has nothing to the do with PPM, the SPIT which was all arranged by the govenor and was even on the Island long before being discovered, please know the PPM was left in the dark just as much as the general public.  Now tell me, what does this have to do with PPM?

  24. annonymous says:

    Go Kernohan, just great!!!

    I just busted out my piggy bank and it has CI$12.32 in it and I am willing to give it all to you if you find all those you have named in your lawsuit guilty.  I would give you my first born but that would be pushing it over the edge and sorry that’s the only thing i have left so you can’t get it.

    Go for it sue them all, let them all pay, lets get this mess over and done with so we can all start over afresh.

    Yahooooo to Kernohan.  Get all the culprits and get um good !!!