Cumber case file found

| 06/10/2009

(CNS): The legal case on which Rudolph Dixon relied when he gave Inspector Burman Scott advice on the night that Rudolph Evans was arrested was produced for the court by his defence team on Monday morning when they called Waide DaCosta as a witness. The local attorney told the jury that he remembered the case and that it had a considerable impact among local defence lawyers, as well as the police. Shown the file from the 1991 case involving Mervin Cumber’s arrest, he explained the circumstances and how the courts rejected the charge because the arresting officer had been instructed to arrest Cumber on a DUI rather than forming his own opinion that he had been driving while drunk.

Following the Crown’s cross examination of Dixon, who repeatedly denied the accusations that he was lying about the night in question, the defence called DaCosta. Jonathan Rose, Dixon’s defence lawyer, then produced the case file, which had been unearthed from the court records and was one of many that suffered considerable damage during the flooding associated with Hurricane Ivan. Asked if he recognised it, DaCosta confirmed it was the case referred to among the criminal defence bar as the Cumber 1 case and that it was well known.

He explained that after the case was thrown out by the Summary Court, from then on defence attorney’s looked very closely at any DUI arrests to make sure that the officers involved had done so based on their own satisfaction and were not directed or instructed by anyone else, as they knew that would form a way out for their clients — one that DaCosta himself said he was able to use to successfully clear charges for a client. He said the case was widely discussed andit put local officers on their Ps and Qs, too, when it came to such arrests. From then on, the attorney noted, the police worked harder to ensure they made lawful arrests on DUIs.

Despite the revelation regarding Cumber’s case following DaCosta’s testimony and the defence resting its case, prosecuting attorney, Andrew Radcliff QC, began the Crown’s closing submissions to the jury and persisted with its position that Dixon’s behaviour was “shameful, outrageous and the highest abuse of authority of office possible to imagine.”

He said that if the Crown’s case was correct, Dixon used his position to ensure a high ranking former colleague escaped prosecution. During his submissions, Radcliffe again had to talk to the jury about not being influenced by Operation Tempura, and despite that team’s involvement, they had to judge the case on the evidence alone. Whatever their views of Operation Tempura, Radcliffe said, they must put them aside.

He continued on the tack that Rudolph Evans and Dixon had been good friends and Dixon had tried to minimize that. He suggested that Dixon had, in a cowardly fashion, tried to blame Burman Scott for the release, and Radlciffe dismissed the Cumber 1 file saying it didn’t help Dixon’s case and accused him of changing his story. He implied, too, that former Commissioner Buel Braggs, who was never called as a witness, of being involved in a “whitewash” following PC Graham Summers report about Evans’ arrest, and said it was a dark and shameful episode when the Deputy Commissioner had put himself above the law.  

“He thought the cosy relationship at the top of RCIPS would protect him as he had protected the former deputy commissioner Rudolph Evans, but he was wrong,” Radcliffe told the jury. “There is only one proper verdict and that is guilty.”

Dixon’s trial continues in Court Five at 10:00 am when Dixon’s defence counsel, Jonathan Rose, will present his closing submissions to the jury.

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