Witness loses cool in court

| 03/09/2009

(CNS): Problems with witnesses mounted for the prosecution during the Lyndon Martin trial on Wednesday, when straight on the heels of one key Crown witness telling the jury the defendant had done nothing wrong, another entered into a confrontation with the defence counsel and stuck his tongue out in the court. Desmond Seales, the publisher of Cayman Net News, denied having a corrupt relationship with RCIPS Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis as suspected by Martin, but his behaviour in the courtroom was called into question by the judge on at least two occasions.

Seales took the stand on Wednesday afternoon, following the declaration by key prosecution witness, John Evans, that he did not believe Martin had done anything wrong and should not be on trial.  Seales remained calm and composed during questioning by the prosecuting attorney, Andrew Radcliffe QC, denying ever receiving leaked information from the Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis or ever implying to anyone he had a relationship with Ennis. He told the court that he had never told anyone that Ennis was a source for news.

However, within minutes of the cross examination by defence attorney, Trevor Burke QC, Seales’ behaviour became volatile and defensive and during the questioning the presiding judge, Roy Anderson, was forced to speak with Seales about the need for respectful behaviour in the courtroom.

When Burke began his examination he asked Seales, if he was ever offered information from a senior police officer whether he would accept it. Seales agreed he would and that he would not see that as a crime. He said, however, that he would not protect that source or any other source that gave him confidential information. Burke queried if informants would ever be safe telling him anything, and Seales confirmed that he would reveal sources as he had done with regard to former tourism minister, Charles Clifford.

When Burke then suggested that Seales would therefore be willing to give up his secrets, Seales became angry towards legal counsel, asking what the lawyer was inferring about secrets and that he should say what he meant. Seales volunteered that John Evans was a liar, and when asked by Burke in what sense, he said “in a truthful sense” as Evans he said had “lied abut the truth".

When pressed to name what lies Evans had told, Seales said, “Name one, name one ..well… that he said there were secret documents in my office and that I had a red box file,” Seales said in an agitated manner. “He is a liar.”

When Burke asked Seales if he had changed a story written by Evans about the helicopter, Seales loudly denied it and insisted that Evans had done it himself. When asked if that was the case, why Evans had then sent an apology to the police Commissioner, Seales declared:  “If he did that well … he had no authority to do that!” Seales also insisted that Evans had never complained about changes to the story and that it was a “downright lie".

Moving on to issues concerning Anthony Ennis, Burke asked Seales if Ennis had threatened legal action against him and his newspaper in 2006 because of an article which Ennis claimed set him in an unfavourable light.  Seales said if he had, he would join the queue and indicated to the court that he was not entirely aware if there was legal action but it was something that happened all the time.

When Burke pressed him several times about how many other senior police officers were taking legal action against him in that year, Seales evaded the question and again became very agitated as he continued trying to avoid answering. Eventually, he said maybe the former commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, had made some threats but he didn’t think so, at which point Seales stuck his tongue out at the lawyer.

Seales’ continued to appear uncomfortable as Burke asked him about his opinion of Ennis and whether he believed he should be the Ccommissioner. Seales refused to offer his opinion and said it was not his place to comment and that as a newspaper editor he was supposed to be impartial. When asked again, Seales said to Burke, “I’m not going to give in to you,” and said he would keep to the tenets of journalism and keep an impartial view.

Moving on to Kernohan, however,  Seales then offered his opinion and said that he had seemed to be doing a good job as commissioner but he began evading the questions again when Burke asked him his position on the helicopter purchase. At this point the presiding judge, Justice Roy Anderson, pointed out to Seales that everyone in the court aimed to be respectful towards each other and directed him to answer the questions to the best of his ability.

Asked about his role in stories in Net News, in particularly regarding the helicopter, Seales gave the impression that he did not decide stories, look at them before publication or necessarily read them at all. He said the news content was down to his editorial management and that he did not have “castrated or impotent writers” at Cayman Net News.

Burke asked Seales if he had read the stories about the helicopter which were critical of Kernohan and if he enquired of the journalists why those stories were running. Seales said that if he had read the story and he was satisfied it was fair then that would be the end of it and things would move to the next story.

When Burke suggested that Ennis was Seales’ source on the helicopter, he again became angry and asked the attorney if he was asking him a question. Once again Justice Anderson explained that the counsel had put a suggestion to him and Seales should agree or disagree.

“”Your suggestion is incorrect,” Seales told the court. When asked if he had called Ennis his boy, Seales said he never uttered the word and when Burke asked if he had boasted to anyone that Ennis was his source, Seales denied that too. Asked if he had told John Evans or Lyndon Martin that Ennis was his source on a number of occasions, Seales said it was a blatant lie and said Martin was a second liar.

Following the exchange, Burke asked him if he knew Rudolph Dixon, to which Seales replied not very well and said he was unaware that Dixon had fathered a child with a Honduran woman. As Burke began asking Seales about stories in the press related to Dixon, Seales refused to accept from the lawyer that a story had been written by John Evans as there was no by-line. The attorney noted that Evans had accepted authorship of the piece but Seales burst back at the lawyer repeating that there was no by-line and that he would not take the lawyer’s word for it as he could not prove Evans wrote it as there was no-by-line.

Burke finished his cross-examination of Seales by asking him how well he knew convicted murderer Sheldon Brown. He confirmed that they had met in prison when Seales was serving time for what Burke described as “various offences of fraud".

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How could you mistake Desmond for Winston!!!!!!!!!! You need your eyes checked!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      It was a joke, people! A JOKE!


      • Anonymous says:

        It’s only a joke if someone laughs, otherwise it’s simply known as having poor taste which you obviously have.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL! I thought may be I had misunderstood that post. I certainly wouldn’t describe Demond as "handsome".

    • Anonymous says:

      This is fantastic. Thank you CNS for portraying what Desmond Seales is really like! LOL. LMAO.

      I can only hope he’ll get what he deserves in the end.

  2. Prince Harry says:

    Is this a picture of that handsome young man from the front of the phone book? Does anyone have his number?

    • frank rizzo says:

      It’s in the book.

      • Concerned Caymanian says:

        Guy in this picture looks like someone just landed illigally in Cayman with a suitcase full of money. I think there is a mix up of pictures here.

    • 1Norsider says:

      Get your facts straight

      No Prince Harry, that is NOT a picture of the young man on the cover of the phone book. That picture sir is of Dasmond Seales OBE, Guyanese born and the editor/ owner of the Cayman NOT News.

      The one on the phone book is Winston Conolly, North Side born and bred and a sterling example of a true pillar of our community of whom all Northh Siders are justly proud.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Quote from the article: "When Burke began his examination he asked Seales, if he was ever offered information from a senior police officer whether he would accept it. Seales agreed he would and that he would not see that as a crime. He said, however, that he would not protect that source or any other source that gave him confidential information. Burke queried if informants would ever be safe telling him anything, and Seales confirmed that he would reveal sources as he had done with regard to former tourism minister, Charles Clifford."

    Ummmm…. could journalistsreally do their job as well if they always "gave up" sources of confidential information? Sources may be breaking laws  (or at the very least ethical standards) by giving confidential information to reporters, but sometimes these "leaks" make the best stories and really let the public know what’s going on. Think Deep Throat and Watergate. 

    I would think that reporters would always protect their sources if they felt it necessary, unless they were legally obliged to reveal them of course. But some reporters have even been held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal a source in response to a court order. I guess this is just one more example of why Seales is not the run-of-the-mill media man…

    • Concerned Caymanian says:

      It is one thing to reveal rather than protect your sources if you are required to do so by court order, it is another (despicable) thing to volunteer your sources as a vindictive response to being required to pay long-outstanding bills.    

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nicky and the rest of the CNS team, please allow me to add my praise of the valuable service you provide. Thank you for your excellent reporting.

    • Nicky Watson says:

      Many thanks. We really appreciate all the support we get from readers. For anyone who doesn’t know, the CNS "team" is Wendy, who does most of the reporting, including coverage of this trial.

    • Anonymous says:

      In a related story we were told that the "kingmaker" felt that he could bring down not only governments but the judiciary.

      Isn’t it fortunate that while evil consumes itself, good will ulltimately prevail!


  5. Carnac the Magnificent says:

    Carnac the Magnificent is now holding in his hand the hermetically sealed envelope. 

    Carnac will now place the still hermetically sealed envelope next to Carnac’s head. 

    Carnac will now use his great psychic powers to divine the answers to the mystery question concealed in the envelope. 

    “Directed verdict”… “Prosecution to stand for review in front of the Bar Standards Board”… “Defendant wins civil suit.” 

    Carnac will now open the envelope….. drum roll please…. “What will be the result of this trial?” 

    Carnac says thank you and tune in next week when Carnac will divine the fortune of a man that jumps out of a plane with no parachute.

  6. Anonymous says:

    CNS- It is truly a pity that you guys dont have a print edition!

    • The Force says:

      I continue to be amazed how the two-lady team of Wendy Ledger and Nicky Watson continue to produce up-to-the minute, accurate and well written newsstories.  Essentially two persons are doing what other news media employ 20-30 people to do!  Or, let’s look at GIS and the numbers employed there with a massive payroll.

      Having observed this over the past months, I would now like to make the suggestion that these two amazing people proffer their services as consultants to the Cayman Islands Government on how to effectively reduce the obese civil service and create a lean and efficient Service.

      Kudos to Nicky and Wendy. CNS has become a very important part of the news dispensation service in the Cayman Islands.

      • The Force has no facts says:

         Massive numbers/payroll at GIS.  That’s almost amusing.  You should go there yourself and see.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes CNS is great and much better than 2 daily newspapers we have in Cayman. They both have very obvious hidden agendas and CNS is truly independant media. You guys have an excellant readership. Keep up your great work !!!!!!

  7. Rabbit says:

    Maybe this is not the right place to post this but i think we should all thank CNS, and like someone said start giving donations, Imagine  reading the newspapers once for the day and sitting until the next day except for a little update now and then so lets give a big shout out for CNS.CNS ROCKS. 

  8. Joe Average says:

    Cayman News Service has become an essential part of my day and restores my faith that the island is not entirely run by a ‘good ‘ol boys’ network.  Thanks for making it available and allowing some intelligent dialogue.

  9. Anonymous says:

    "Oye, oye, hee-heee! The Kangroo Kort of the Kayman Islands is now in session!"

    This is the funniest thing I have read on CNS.

    And this is just about the funniest thing I have heard relative to court. Other than perhaps the story about the time on Cayman Brac when Magistrate Kipling Douglas (aka "Cripplin’ Douglas") was presiding over the trial of a very colourful defendant who stood accused of cutting down Power and Light wires running over his property.

    The defendant maintained the wires were too low to the ground and unsafe; he further maintained that had told CBP&L that if they were not moved he would cut them down. As I recall the judge wondered how the man managed to cut down the live power lines without suffering electrocution. Banter between judge and defendant was lively and the courtroom was in quiet stitches as the defendant proudly related how he accomplished the task with the help of his trusty new wire cutters that he bought from the Sears Catalogue.

    The magistrate marvelled that the defendant avoided being fried and quipped "Man, you must be bionic!" As I recall the charges were dismissed or at least the accused was otherwise relieved of any punishment.

    As I read the story about the Martin trial, I was thinking that the only characters missing from that trial are Judge Cripplin’ and "Mr. Bionic Man" from Spot Bay.

  10. Nicky Watson says:

    Sorry, guys! As with all court cases, I have to be very careful about the comments that are published. I can’t allow ones about witnesses or court procedings. However, I am having a lot of fun reading them, I can tell you!

  11. Sir Henry Morgan says:

    They should have sent these clowns to Judge Judy, she would have told them what time it was!

    • Twyla Vargas says:

      YOU TALK ABOUT PASA PASA, Listen to this case.  Dying to hear the out come.

  12. anonymous says:

    What tangled webs we weave.

  13. Concerned Caymanian says:

    Wow! Thank you, CNS. These news stories are real eye-openers and provide a little more insight than say the Cayman Net News news stories on the subject. I don’t think any reasonable person is in any doubt about who is lying.

    Generally, I must say that CNS provides an invaluable addition to our news media and I am real fan!  

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I am taken aback.  This is good reporting thought, thank you for letting us "peer" inside the courtroom.