Tempura flaws exposed

| 04/09/2009

(CNS): Scotland Yard Investigators made up their minds over Operation Tempura within three days of their arrival in the Cayman Islands, former police commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, revealed in court on Thursday.  Testifying via video link from the UK at the Lyndon Martin trial, Kernohan said he was extremely concerned when he realised what approach the first two undercover officers were taking so soon after they had arrived to begin an investigation into alleged leaks from the RCIPS to Cayman Net News.

Speaking publically for the first time since he was suspended, the former commissioner told the court that he had been instrumental in bringing the outside investigation team to Cayman following the accusations that had been made about the possibility that Anthony Ennis, his deputy commissioner, was leaking sensitive information to Desmond Seales. But the former senior RCIPS officer said he soon had very serious reservations about their conduct and the process of their investigation.

Kernohan revealed that, although information regarding the leak had come via word of mouth from Lyndon Martin and John Evans, no further progress could be made without some kind of documented evidence. He explained that at that point there was not even enough evidence to apply for a search warrant for the Net News offices.

Having consulted with the governor, the attorney general and the FCO’s OT security officer, Larry Covington, Kernohan explained that a decision was made to bring in a team from Scotland Yard in London, which arrived in Cayman in September 2007. The team later came to be known as the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) when Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Martin Bridger retired from the Met and a number  of other team members, which numbered up to a dozen officers at one time, were recruited from outside Scotland Yard.

Martin’s defence attorney, Trevor Burke QC, asked Kernohan about his first meeting with the two UK SPIT officers, who the ex-commissioner said he went to meet three days after they arrived. Burke suggested that Kernohan had a number of reservations from the get-go regarding the early conclusions made by SIO Bridger and his deputy, Simon Ashwin, and the rationale for what they had decided. Kernohan agreed and told the court he was “very concerned” and confirmed that almost the first words from Ashwin on meeting Kernohan had been, “Now, what about this burglary?”

He expressed his concerns that they were getting things horribly wrong so early in the investigation because of a lack of objectivity and they had already made up their minds in just a few days of being on island. John Evans’ entry into Net News, Kernohan confirmed, could by no stretch of the imagination ever be called a burglary. “At the very first meeting I had with them they had spoken to no witnesses and they had already reached the conclusion it was a burglary,” he said. “It was clearly a fundamental error from the outset,” he noted, adding it was not something one would expect from professional police officers.

Kernohan said from that moment on he became apprehensive that the integrity of the investigation could be brought into question because of the rash conclusions and their lack of objectivity. The court heard how Bridger and Ashwin had dismissed Martin as a credible source, adopted Evans as a truthful witness, vindicated Ennis and placed Desmond Seales in the role of victim within days of arriving, having talked to no one.

Kernohan confirmed that he was officially distanced from the investigation by the governor, so there was no real supervision of the SPIT officers.  The court heard that in January 2008 Kernohan had written to the then Chief Secretary, George McCarthy, in confidence about his concerns regarding the Operation Tempura officers and their overall behaviour, as they were serving as special constables in the RCIPS. Kernohan had alerted McCarthy to the officers’ conduct, the decisions that were being made, the early conclusions, the breach of local procedures and protocols, and above all that there was simply no oversight of their operation.

Burke suggested that Kernohan’s memo to McCarthy had been “something of a prophecy” as he had warned that the reputation of the Cayman Islands and the integrity of the original investigation were at risk without proper oversight of the investigators. Kernohan emphatically agreed that this was indeed the unfortunate outcome.

The former commissioner also noted that Bridger’s technique of taping witness statements and then writing them up later from the tapes himself was vulnerable to abuse and had also given him cause for concern. Burke asked if this had been aptly illustrated with the unlawful arrest of Grand Court Judge Alex Henderson, which was based on Bridger’s written version of John Evans’ statement and not the actual testimony that Evans had given. Kernohan agreed and said he had been very worried by this technique and he would not be interviewed that way as he insisted he would want to write his own statement.

Kernohan also revealed to the court that he was still not entirely sure exactly what the criminal allegations were against him and why Bridger had in February 2008 sought a search warrant for Kernohan’s house on two occasions, which had been refused by the chief justice. Kernohan, who confirmed he was suspended from his job in March 2008 and dismissed in November 2008, said he could not reveal any more because of his own pending civil suit.

Kernohan did confirm that the he had instigated the outside investigation because, from his own UK experience, any internal questions of a specific force would be investigated by the Police Complaints Commission or would be handed to another regional force. And he was aware that the only way an internal RCIPS investigation could take place would be with outside help.

Kernohan confirmed that, as Martin was reluctant to go public with what were serious allegations, he was frustrated in his investigations into the RCIPS leak even before it started as he had no hard evidence. He acknowledged it was a particularly sensitive investigation because it was a newspaper. However,  he said he was not too concerned about what Desmond Seales may have thought if he had succeeded in securing a search warrant.

During his time on the video-link stand Kernohan confirmed that he had received a separate allegation from John Evans that Ennis was Seales’ source on the disparaging stories about the helicopter, as well as concerns from the now leader of government business and then opposition leader, McKeeva Bush, that Ennis was leaking to Net News. Kernohan said he had met Bush at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where Bush had told him that “the bald one” was leaking information to Seales. He went on to confirm that the main allegations had originally been made by Martin to Rudolph Dixon.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Will Premier Designate……..

    ……be called to the stand to explain how he came to know that  it was "the bald one"?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I too think it is the old English empire methods again…Divide and Conquer.

    Too much happening from the UKin regards to having CI lo bad.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Word on the street is Kernohan is already penning a book titled "Category Five Corupption in The Cayman Islands. Don’t be fooled the Caymanian system is definitly corrupt but lack of transparency hides many things so we’re all left to speculate. That’s how the gig works the world round. Hardly though is their a worldwide media frenzy over the Cayman Islands. I think that is a bit geocentric. Most people give two hoots about these rocks but Cayman has never had a good PR image. After all, any rational human being knows that blood money and drug money did help build GC up into  a strip mall haven, at least in some part. Its a bit niave to think that free for all from the 1970’s to the late 80’s and 90’s hasn’t rightfully tainted Cayman’s image. Caymanians, you may be afriad of homosexual affection but your roads are paved in Colombian Cocaine as far as I am concerned. Anyways that’s off topic. CNS let us know when we can expouse our real view points on this trial and the man who is always in the front and center of nearly ever inquiry of note in the last year or so.Our dear freind one eyed friend, what million dollar scandal will he get us into next time?

    • Concerned Caymanian says:

      Wouldn’t that be ironic. He initiates the SPIT investigation which to date has not uncovered any real corruption. 

      Please explain the basis of your comment that our roads are paved with "Colombian cocaine".   

      • Anonymous says:

        I think he is referring to the aggregate that we import from Columbia.

        I am not sure but I think the National Roads Authority may buy it from the local importers for road paving.

        Why the writer misspelled "aggregate" as "cocaine" I dont know but he must know something no one else does.

        Maybe he could be a grateful citizen and pass the information to the Police.

      • Anonymous says:

        The money that started off the boom in our financial services history was dirty and the best customers were the drug cartels.  That is the truth about Cayman’s past.

        • backstroke says:

          TO MONEY THAT STARTED CAYMAN 22:44

          Since you are so damn sure of your self that the money that started cayman was blood and drugs back in the 70s,80s,90s, how much of it did you  control,  it seems that you know a lot and make no bones about it, so it is not too late to unveilyour information and shame these same people that you seem to be so angry at. Go to the police.    Mind you I am not advocating that if this is true that we should look the other way, but it just seems that you were either burnt by one of them  and is still carrying a grudge. 

          As a caymanian 60 plus,I think that our men who went to sea and the good ones that stayed here,like Sir Vassel, Benson Ebanks, Dr Roy, Willie Farrington  Craddock Ebanks Warren Connolly, too many to name here,  they built this country for us not  by  people like you that cant handle the TRUTH.

          Sounds like another bit of brittish garbage, are you a fly for the guardian?

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess I should wrote, paid for with cocaine money. C’mon, are you that niave that you think all that surrounds you was paid for with clean money? Cayman would still look like Little Cayman if everyday someone in the 1970’s through the early part of the 90’s wasn’t getting off a plane with a duffel bag of drug money or dirty wire transfers from some Madoff wannabe hiding his dough in a sneaky Cayman bank. Sure the wild west days may still be over but the ramifications will be long felt. Without dealing with the devil Cayman would look much different, and probably a lot less like a badly planned suburb of Miami. How you like dem apples!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is time to expose the shady mission of the UK’s Treasury, perpetrated via the FCO, in the Cayman Islands.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Definitely a "Best Seller" !

     

  6. Anonymous says:

    When this is all over and done…. I hope hollywood makes a ‘based on a true’ story movie.  Caymanian filmmaker Frankie Flowers might just be thinking and brainstorming right about now…..

     

    Quincy Brown

    • Concerned Caymanian says:

      and may be this time he will write a movie script that helps (and does not hurt) his country.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Well that would certainly extend his run of films that don’t make any money.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is all a conspiracy by the FCO through their local Cayman Islands Representative to destablise our country and wreck our financial services industry.

    It started with this undercover investigation which the Governor took control of and removed Kernohan.

    Then there was the Tucker Commission of Enquiry into the allegations against Minister Clifford even though former Governor Dinwiddy had already written to Clifford to confirm that he had done nothing wrong……and wouldn’t you think that Clifford or anyone else exposing corruption should be encouraged. Look at what happened recently in TCI…..the Enquiry should have been into the corruption itself not the exposing of it !!!!

    So then Jack had his desired Tucker Report against Clifford and Tempura was proceeding nicely and making it appear like there was widespread corruption in the RCIP which we have yet to see one shred of evidence of !!!! They suspended Kernohan and Jones and arrested Rudolph Dixon and Burman Scott. Burman Scott has since been cleared and has sued too !!!

    Then they hyped up the anti with respect to Tempura and suddenly there is the arrest of Judge Henderson on suspicion of an offence which isn’t even arrestable.

    So now Jack and crew has begun to paint a picture of mismanagement, corruption in the RCIP and in the Judiciary.

    Then Jack suspends Justice Levers and appoints a Tribunal of Enquiry to investigate what turned out to be nothing more than internal squabbles at the Courts Office. This we discovered some $3.5 M later….and we’re still counting the bills for that one.

    Folks a credible Judiciary is the heart of our Financial Services Industry and this is what the UK is after.

    Do not be fooled any longer Cayman. This was never about Minister Clifford, Rudolph Dixon, Burman Scott, Judge Henderson or Judge Levers….this has always been about the UK and EU’s mission to destroy the Cayman Islands.

    The Tucker Commission of Enquiry was engineered to discredit Minister Clifford and return McKeeva to power which explains why there was no Commission of Enquiry into the actual corruption itself.

    This was because the UK knew that McKeeva isn’t wise enough to "get it" and he would be ideal as an "unaware accomplice" and that along with what they had already done to us, they only needed to put documents, such as the letter the FCO sent McKeeva recently into his hands and he would read it to the world as he did at the Ritz recently. That has done exactly what the FCO expected….prompted stories around the world about the Cayman Islands being bankrupt and further undermined confidence in our jurisdiction as an Offshore Financial Center that is competing with London.

    Now there is a global media frenzy, created by our very own "Fearless Leader" and he is blaming that on the PPM too. Give me a break for God’s sake !!!

    Wake up Cayman. Mothers have murdered their children before !!!

    We aretoo passive a people. We should have demanded this Governor’s return a long time ago because while this is a UK initiative it and he is simply their current agent, that would have sent a very clear message to them that the people of the Cayman Islands are not sleeping !!!!!!!!

     

    • Twyla Vargas says:

      FOR ONCE IN A LIFETIME I am totally lost in the head, because I am believing all the comments in  "This is all a conspiracy"  12:08. 

      Have we really been suckered?  following this trend it all seems so real, what else should we believe.  I am following you keep leading.   Walk good,

    • Anonymous3 says:

      I will tell you the same thing that Bill Gates told some kids about the real world: Rule # 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault , so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is exactly as we suspected. The investigation was a total farce — and this was just an excuse to stir up trouble for the Cayman Islands.

    This allegation provided an oppourtunity to destabilise Cayman.

  9. Anon1 says:

    Well …. well…… another example of the good Governor Jacko exerting his idea of ‘good governance’?