Dixon gets his day in court

| 05/10/2009

(CNS): In the wake of his arrest Rudolph Dixon vowed that he would have his day in court to defend the charges against him and on Friday that day finally came. Telling the court what happened on the night of 7 April 2004 and the subsequent events Dixon said it was absurd to suggest he had let Rudolph Evans go because they were close friends. Dixon made it clear the two men were not particularly acquainted outside of the job and that he had merely given advice to the inspector on duty that night based on what he now knew to be distorted information, but had not spoken to Evans and had never unlawfully told anyone to release the former senior cop.

Taking the witness stand on Friday morning as his defence team began their response to the crown’s case, the Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon noted that throughout his career of 31 years, many of them spent in senior roles, a number of his friends and family had fallen foul of the drink driving laws but he had never interfered to make charges go away or protect any of them from the ultimate punishment of the courts. He said it was therefore ridiculous to suggest he would do it for someone he was considerably less connected.

“It is a million miles from the truth,” Dixon told the court as he revealed what had happened on the night he received a call from Inspector Burman Scott for advice on an arrest. Dixon said he was told an officer had been directed to arrest the suspected DUI driver by someone else rather than forming his own opinion and as a result he had offered Scott advice based on an old case. In the face of the crown’s position that Evans and Dixon were close friends and Dixon had let Evans go as part of the old boy network, the deputy commissioner said that he and Evans had almost never socialised together. He explained that thought they shared the same fishing hobby in the more than thirty years he had known Evans they had gone fishing together only once and that was many years ago. Dixon recalled the fact that his closest fishing pal had in fact lost his license because of DUI, forcing Dixon to collect him every time they went out but even then he had still not stepped in to save him.

It was also revealed that his arrest may well have considerably more to do with the Operation Tempura investigation that has been realised. Although Dixon’s arrest was always billed as an entirely separate investigation it is apparent that when Dixon was arrested regarding this charge and another which has since been dropped, the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) from Operation Tempura persisted in questioning him regarding that wider investigation as well as the issues for which he was arrested. Dixon confirmed that prior to his arrest he had already been thoroughly questioned for many hours by SPIT regarding that investigation but when he was arrested SPIT returned to those same matters despite Dixon having already answered their questions.

He also explained why SPIT had found the Graham Summers report regarding the night in question along with other documents in his office in black bin or garbage liner, something which had been raised by the prosecution as suspicious. Dixon said following Ivan in September 2004 and the destruction of the Tower Building where he and other senior officers had been based, he had salvaged as much as possible from those offices and hauled it across to the central police station where it remained until he went to the new head quarters at Elizabethan Square. By this time Buel Braggs had resigned as Commissioner and Dixon had been appointed as acting Commissioner, so he had taken not just his own, but Bragg’s paperwork as well still in the black bags. He said in the years following he had worked his way through what was originally bags and bags of material but when SPIT searched his office he said there were perhaps two left that were yet to be sorted.

Focusing on the night itself, Dixon explained he was at home in bed when he received the call from George Town police station, something he noted was not altogether uncommon as officers would call senior officers for assistance or advise. Dixon said that he spoke to Inspector Scott and PC Boxwell who Dixon understood had arrested Evans at the direction of the plain clothes English officer but that he had never spoken to Evans at anytime.

He said he gathered from both Scott and Boxwell that neither of them believed that Evans was in fact drunk and Boxwell was not comfortable having made the arrest. Dixon said he explained that he was not surprised as it was reminiscent of an old case where an officer had been directed to arrest a drunk driver rather than arresting him on his own suspicions which had failed in the courts because when an officer makes an arrest he must be convinced himself that the suspect could have broken the law.

He said given Scott’s reluctance to phone the English officer involved and his own knowledge of the previous case Dixon agreed to call Summers and explain that Evans was to be released. He said the English officer had been reluctant to accept his explanation that he could not direct another officer to arrest a suspect. “I kept telling him an off-duty officer cannot direct another officer to arrest a suspect, but he wasn’t listening and kept saying Evans was drunk,” Dixon added.

He said that he had discussed the matter the next morning with his colleague Derek Haines and he had received Summer’s report a few weeks later, something which was discussed with Braggs and Scott in Braggs‘office. He said he had never tried to cover up the advice he gave and still believed, given the information he had received on the night, it was sound.

He noted that since the court case had begun and he had listened to the conflicting testimony given by the officers on duty that night and Summers’ whole story, when he was called that evening he was not given the whole picture and that perhaps they had “hoodwinked” him as to the real circumstances of the night’s events.

During cross examination by Crown prosecuting attorney Andrew Radcliff Dixon told the court several times over that he had not spoken to Evans and had not told anyone to release the former cop but had offered advice to Scott that given what he had told him he could release the former senior officer if he chose. “The call wasfor advice and that’s what I gave,” Dixon said.

He also categorically denied trying to minimize any relationship he had with Evans as he said they simply were not close friends, noting the absurdity that he would commit an unlawful act to try to help someone evade a charge that he was merely acquainted with.  “I did reach the rank of Deputy Commissioner of police, credit me with some intelligence,” Dixon told Radcliff.

The cross examination will resume in court five on Monday morning.

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