Archive for September 15th, 2009

Op Tempura top cop’s marriage succumbs to pressure

Op Tempura top cop’s marriage succumbs to pressure

| 15/09/2009 | 3 Comments

(CNS): According to reports in the UK press, the man who was supposed to have had oversight of Operation Tempura, who also led the investigation into royal butler Paul Burrell and the cash-for-honours affair in the UK, has split from his wife due to the pressure of work. UK reports reveal that while John Yates of Scotland Yard was still supposed to be supervising the investigation in the Cayman Islands, he was appointed as Britain’s top anti-terror officer recognised as the hardest and most time-consuming of all police jobs with a salary of £180,000 (US$296,250).

The Daily Mail reports that Yates’ work in charge of specialist operations, which involves regular trips abroad, took its toll on the couple’s marriage. However, the tabloid noted that the fifty year old senior police officer, known as ‘Yates of the Yard’, has already started a relationship with senior Yard press officer Felicity Ross, who is in her 30s and works for Met chief Sir Paul Stephenson.

Yates is said to be well-respected within the force and has acted increasingly as its public face when difficult apologies are needed. Last year, he appeared in front of the cameras to express regret that police had missed a series of chances to catch a multiple rapist who went on to kill Rachel Nickell. He also travelled to Brazil to meet the parents of Jean Charles de Menezes who was shot dead by police after being mistaken for a would-be suicide bomber. 

However, he faced enormous criticisms regarding the 16-month cash for honours inquiry, which ended in no charges being brought against anyone after £1m was spent on what was described as a "wild goose chase". Yates was also criticised abouthaving a cavalier attitude towards suspects and witnesses and leaking information to the press regarding the enquiry.

The police investigation, during which more than 130 people were interviewed and four people were arrested, focused on allegations that peerages had been offered in return for loans to Labour and the Conservatives ahead of the 2005 general election. Figures questioned by officers included the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Tory leader Michael Howard.

All involved in the investigation denied any wrongdoing and the CPS said in July that there was "insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any individual for any offence".

Yates first rose to public prominence as head of the Yard’s so-called "celebrity squad’, when he handled a series of sensitive cases, notably the conviction for perjury of Lord Archer and the investigation of TV presenter John Leslie over rape claims. 

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Levers’ lawyers unpaid

Levers’ lawyers unpaid

| 15/09/2009 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Despitethe fact that the tribunal convened by the governor to hear the case against Justice Priya Levers had ordered 75% of the grand court judge’s legal costs to be paid by the Cayman Islands government, CNS has learned that the attorneys have yet to be paid. With government freezing all payments to suppliers last month, it seems it has also included the money owed for the work already undertaken to represent Levers during the May hearing. With the Lever’s costs still mounting, CNS also understands the governor, Stuart Jack, missed an opportunity to pay off the judge at a fraction of the cost which has now been incurred.

Although the full costs of the entire hearing are yet to be calculated as the tribunal has recommended that the Privy Counsel hear the case, sources close to the case suggested it could reach as much as $5 million.

When CNS contacted the suspended judge for comment on the failure by the governor’s office to pay her legal bill, she said that she was very concerned that it was in default of the payment which was due on 26 August. “The governor’s office gave an undertaking to the tribunal that they would pay the costs as ordered. It is therefore of great concern to me that my attorneys have not been paid.” Levers said she did not wish to comment in detail on the ongoing case but she said she was obviously troubled that the costs would be increasing given the decision to take her case to the Privy Counsel, with previous costs still outstanding.

Costs for the tribunal are already estimated to have been in excess of CI$3 million. However, once the government’s, the tribunal’s, the privy counsel and Lever’s legal cost for taking the case to London are combined, the cash strapped treasury could be facing another bill generated by the Governor’s Office that it cannot pay.

Moreover, with the figure heading to $5 million, CNS has learned from sources close to Levers’ legal team that an offer was made through them on behalf of the high court judge to settle the matter without the need for a tribunal. It is understood that Levers had been willing to resign her post for $650,000 –a mere fraction of the costs already incurred. However, the governor refused to settle and insisted that the tribunal should hear the case against the judge to its full conclusion. Levers refused to comment on the offer to settle but CNS has learned the offer was made before the tribunal started and before government  began racking up  the legal costs.

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