Archive for August 23rd, 2009

Costs to soar on Levers case

| 23/08/2009 | 11 Comments

(CNS): The referral to the Privy Council of the Justice Priya Levers case could add as much as $2 million to the overall total cost, estimated already be in the region of $3 million, all of which will come from the cash strapped Cayman purse. CNS understands from legal experts that although the Privy Council will not hear from witnesses when they take up the case, it will hear from both Justice Levers’ legal team and the legal representatives of the tribunal. So far all of Justice Levers’ costs and those incurred by the tribunal itself, as well as the various other legal teams provided for the judicial services, the prosecution services and the chief justice, have been paid for by the CI government.

Justice Levers has also remained on full pay since she was suspended from the Grand Court bench in September 2008. The next round could see the legal costs involved soar even further as both legal teams will be able to present their entire cases again to the UK’s highest court when the Privy Council considers the case in London.

CNS contacted Justice Levers for comment on the tribunal’s recommendation and the forthcoming Privy Council hearing but the judge was unavailable. It is understood, however, that her lead counsel Stanley Brodie QC will be representing her in London.

On Thursday, 20 August, the Governor’s Office announced that it had received the report from the tribunal, which was chaired by Sir Andrew Leggatt and heard Justice Levers’ case in May of this year. The governor stated that, as the case was going on to the Privy Council, the report would not be made public.

However, CNS understands that the tribunal did not find against Justice Levers in regards to the majority of the complaints, so it is by no means certain that the Grand Court Judge will be taken off the bench. Her legal team will be given the opportunity to present their case to the Privy Council with regards to the recommendations made by the tribunal in its report.

During the tribunal it was revealed that the inquiry against Justice Levers was triggered when it was suspected by the chief justice that she had written letters under a pseudonym to the local press, that she had instigated a petition in the Court House and had criticised the CJ as well as other members of the local judiciary. The purpose of the tribunal was to discover if, together with other allegations relating to her behaviour towards legal counsel and witnesses, these issues amounted to misconduct sufficient to recommend her removal.

It could be as much as nine months before the top UK court examines the tribunal’s findings and  the judge who is contracted until 2011 will remain on full pay until the Privy Council makes its decision.

Following the Special Police Investigation, which has already cost the CI government well over $6.5 million and counting, including the $1.275 million damages given to Justice Alex Henderson for his unlawful arrest, the announcement that the Levers case will be incurring further costs came following the confirmation that Lyndon Martin’s two week trial for making allegations against a senior police officer would begin on 31 August and is also expected to run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. The trial against Rudolph Dixon, the deputy commissioner of police, for misconduct in a public office, who has also been on full pay since March 2008, is due to start mid September and will also add to the growing legal bill which will be met by the Cayman tax paper.

There are still two legal actions pending against the Special Police Investigation Team and the police commissioner regarding the arrest of Burman Scott in connection with the Dixon case and the suspension and subsequent dismissal of the former Commissioner Stuart Kernohan, which have yet to be settled.

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DoE warns of hefty penalties

| 23/08/2009 | 12 Comments

(CNS): The recent appearance of pictures on the social networking site ‘Facebook’ of guides lifting stingrays from the water at the sandbar has prompted the Department of  Environment to remind people that mishandling these creatures could see them incurring fines ofup to CI$½ million and even a year’s prison sentence. The marine conservation law prohibits anyone from taking the stingrays out of the water and there is now a dedicated enforcement officer from the DoE stationed at Stingray City and the Sandbar to keep an eye on the welfare of the marine creatures.

Tim Austin for the DoE told CNS that lifting the rays from the water (as shown above) is not only very stressful for the creatures but can put people at risk as the rays are more likely to sting when they are under that kind of stress.

“Although they would have to be out of the water for significant period for their lives to be at risk, researchers have said that continually lifting the rays, even for a short period, causes them immunological stress,” he said. “We are also very concerned about the danger it poses to humans as the rays can sting. While the guides know how to handle the rays when they do this they could encourage people who don’t know how to handle them to try, which can be very dangerous.”

Austin warned that they DoE will seek to prosecute people who put people and the rays at risk and said that since July a dedicated officer has been allocated to the popular tourist attraction and he will be making sure that people refrain from taking the creatures out of the water.

“There is no need for guides to do this type of thing. No one gains from it,” Austin added. “Stingray City already offers visitors a unique experience swimming with the rays in the water where they belong.”

The Southern Atlantic Stingrays which populate the sandbar and Stingray City take their name from the barbed spine(s) at the base of their long, whip-like tail which protects them from danger. They are not aggressive creatures and when swimming they are unable to direct their tails so they rarely attack while they are in perpetual motion in the water.

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Prince Harry goes incognito as Rasta

| 23/08/2009 | 7 Comments

(Telegraph): Prince Harry has been taken to wearing a Rastafarian disguise in an effort to go out in public without being recognised, it has been claimed. The Prince is understood to have developed an alter-ego named Winston in a "light-hearted" attempt to disguise his identity. However, his choice of dress could be seen as controversial. Four years ago he was heavily criticised for wearing a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party, and in January this year he was caught on camera calling a fellow Army officer a "Paki". The Prince has been seen wearing the "Winston" outfit on a night out at a warehouse party in East London.

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Former spook escapes from Dubai wearing burka

| 23/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(Daily Mail): A former spy convicted of fraud in the United Arab Emirates has told how he made a bid for freedom by donning a wetsuit disguised under a burka before diving into the ocean. Frenchman Herve Jaugbert, an ex-naval officer, alleges the Dubai secret police had threatened to insert needles up his nose and that he was about to be thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. The 53-year-old explained how on the night of his escape last summer he stepped into a full-length diving suit, complete with breathing equipment, before adding padding to cover the shape of the kit. Jaubert, who designs and builds leisure submarines, then disguised himself in a burka and walked down to the water’s edge.

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Pinochet’s lost millions

| 23/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(Independent): Two-and-a-half years after the death of General Augusto Pinochet, a report by the Chilean police task force charged with investigating money-laundering, has claimed that British authorities were complicit in hiding his massive ill-gotten fortune. The cover-up of Pinochet’s fortune took place in British colonies which were ultimately controlled by Whitehall. They range from Gibraltar, the Caribbean tax havens of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), to former colonies such as the Bahamas and Hong Kong.

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