“Lyndon did nothing wrong”

| 03/09/2009

(CNS): On the third day of Lyndon Martin’s trial, John Evans, a key Crown prosecution witness, told the court that he was very surprised that Martin had ended up facing charges as, Evans said, he did not believe that the defendant had done anything wrong, but had, with the best intentions, tried to help by telling the police about his concerns.  Evans told the court that by putting Martin on trial the wrong message was being sent to the whole community about blowing the whistle whenever they saw something that they believed should be exposed.

Even though Evans was called on behalf of the prosecution, when Martin’s defence attorney, Trevor Burke QC, asked Evans if he had ever said that Lyndon Martin had “done nothing wrong”, Evans confirmed that he had. “I was very surprised when I heard Lyndon was on trial as it seemed to me he had done nothing wrong and was acting with the best intentions and in the interests of the Caymanian people,” he said, adding that it sent the wrong message about whistleblowing.

On the witness stand for more than three hours on Wednesday morning, Evans took the jury through his time at Cayman Net News, leading up to the entry into the offices late one evening in September 2007 to search for possible evidence of alleged leaks to his boss, Desmond Seales, from Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis. The former Net News reporter explained that senior police officers had supported the search. Hours before his clandestine foray into the offices, Evans said he had spoken at length with RCIPS Chief Superintendent John Jones.

Evans explained that he had been part of the search because he too believed that information was being supplied to Seales from somewhere in the police service, and although he was not convinced it was Ennis, Seales had certainly said it was. Reflecting on his relationship with Seales, Evans said he was sceptical about any claims he made as, he told the court, “Desmond Seales’ version of the truth changed from hour to hour, day to day, to suit his needs.”

The former reporter said that the “normal rules of journalism” did not seem to apply at Net News and Seales had pressed him to write news stories without allowing him to check and verify the sources beforehand. Evans described Seales as vindictive and volatile and not someone he wanted to be on the wrong side of.

When Burke asked Evans if Seales believed to himself to be “a kingmaker who could bring down governments”, Evans agreed. “Not just governments but the judiciary as well,” Evans told the court.

Explaining why he had gone to Commissioner Stuart Kernohan with his own concerns over Seales regarding the police helicopter, entirely independently of Martin and long before the two of them discussed the matter, he said that Seales had told him directly that Ennis was his source on the information that Kernohan wanted to buy the helicopter simply so he could fly it. Evans said that Seales had made it very clear that the Deputy Commissioner was his source and not Lyndon Martin.

Evans said he expected that Seales would say he was lying as he already had indicated that in the pages of Net News over the last year, but Evans said there was no doubt that Seales had told him on a number of occasions that Ennis was his source regarding disparaging stories about Kernohan and the helicopter.

Evans confirmed that he had been outraged when a positive story he had written about the possible purchase of a helicopter to help police with the fight against drugs had been altered, and as a result he had sent his apologies to Kernohan via police liaison officer Deborah Denis. Evans explained that because a sentence had been added which he did not write, the story had been falsely distorted, and he believed Seales was responsible for adding the offending information to the article.

Evans spoke about how Seales had persistently pushed him to write disparaging stories about Kernohan and the helicopter, which he had refused to do. Evans said he could not find evidence to back up the accusations and had repeatedly told Seales that his source was wrong. However, Seales insisted the information was good because it had come from Ennis and would become extremely agitated when Evans wouldn’t just write the story as Seales said he should.

Speaking about the after hours entry into Net News in September 2007, Evans explained it had happened with the support of both Commissioner Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones and that, although hehad not found anything, he was surprised when he entered Seales’ private office that it was essentially empty. Evans recalled how he had systematically looked through draws, cupboards and shelves, and not only did he not find copies of emails between Seales  and Ennis, he found nothing else at all. “I was surprised the office was so very tidy,” he said. “There was just none of the usual stuff you have in your office desk and shelves – it was empty.”

Burke asked Evans about other issues concerning Seales and in particular about his time in Northward Prison . Evans revealed how Seales had bragged of his connections with Cayman’s criminal fraternity and that  he was almost proud of the fact that he had served time in Northward. “Far from being ashamed,” Evans said, “he wore it like a badge.”

Evans added that Seales would bring unsavoury characters that were known to be criminals into the office and that he had bragged of being in contact with Sheldon Brown, an inmate in Northward prison serving life for murder, who was considered a very violent man. “As far as I am aware,” said Evans, “it was common knowledge that Seales keeps in touch with Sheldon Brown.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.