$584k added to Tempura bill

| 29/10/2012

Bridger 24.jpg(CNS): Although lead investigating officer Martin Bridger and most of his special police investigation team (SPIT) left the island well over three years ago, the discredited enquiry he led into alleged corruption within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is still costing the local tax payer money. According to information released by the Portfolio of Legal Affairs, since the last public trial relating to the investigation in October 2009, the attorney general has run up a bill of almost $600,000 dealing with other legal claims and battles that relate to both former police commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, and Bridger in an effort to prevent the former Scotland Yard cop from using documents to clear his own name in Kernohan’s law suit.

The investigation into the RCIPS, which was paid for by the Cayman tax payer, failed to uncover any wrongdoing. It began as an undercover operation in September 2007 and reached the height of notoriety when the team wrongfully arrested Grand Court Judge Alex Henderson. The arrest was found to be unlawful following a ruling by Sir Peter Cresswell, who now sits in Cayman’s financial services court.

Two more major courtroom dramas followed, the first involving former MLA and Cayman Net News reporter, Lyndon Martin, for breaking and entering into his own workplace, and the second in which former deputy commissioner ofpolice, Rudolph Dixon, was charged with misconduct in a public office. Both men were cleared and the investigation was eventually closed down.

Since then, however, Kernohan has filed a wrongful dismissal claim and Martin Bridger has gone to battle with the Cayman authorities over documents he holds regarding the corruption investigation, which he believes was prematurely halted.

In response to an FOI request by CNS, the Portfolio of Legal Affairs wrote to the news website stating that three separate matters relating to Operation Tempura were on-going since the Dixon trial, two of which are taking place in Cayman and one in the UK. The total cost to the public purse so far is $584,107.42 but these cases are far from over.

Although there has been no official confirmation regarding the status of the various on-going cases, it is understood that Burman Scott is still waiting on a settlement on damages he claimed from the Cayman government relating to his arrest in the Dixon case. 

In addition, Kernohan is continuing his case against Bridger and the Cayman government over his dismissal, which he says was unlawful. The former top cop was dismissed by the then governor Stuart Jack when he refused to return to the island during his suspension in connection with the investigation.

Finally, Bridger is now engaged in a legal battle with the attorney general as the authorities here try to prevent him from using certain documents in his possession in the Kernohan case. The documents relate to the investigation and some believe they might prove embarrassing for the Cayman and UK authorities.

CNS understand that the documents may support Kernohan’s contention that both Stuart Jack and the overseas territories security advisor, Larry Covington, were well versed about the plan that Kernohan and his officers were following in connection with the trigger that resulted in Operation Tempura.

The investigation centred on claims made by Lyndon Martin to Rudolph Dixon that the Cayman Net News editor and proprietor, the late Desmond Seales, was engaged in a corrupt relationship with Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis. On hearing the accusations, Kernohan had informed the governor and Covington, telling them both that the police were working with Martin and his reporter colleague, John Evans, to try and find evidence for the very serious accusations before action was taken against Ennis.

Given the sensitivity of the accusations and the involvement of the media, Kernohan wanted to move with caution before issuing a warrant to search the offices of the newspaper, which could have easily have been misinterpreted as a threat to free speech.

As a result, Kernohan and Chief Inspector John Jones sanctioned a late night exploration by Martin and Evans of the newspaper offices where the men both worked before taking the step of issuing a warrant.

The bungled attempt by Evans and Martin to find corroborating evidence failed to recover any supporting documentation for the allegations but set off a train of bizarre events which resulted in the Operation Tempura investigation, which has already cost the Cayman public millions of dollars and is likely to cost it much more.

Visit the CNS Library for documents relating to Operations Tempura and Cealt.

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Category: FOI

Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sins of colonialists lay concealed for decades in secret archive

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/18/sins-colonialists-concealed-secret-archive

    Please read carefully before you respond (see extract below).

    Many historians remain suspicious of the FCO and believe it may seek to retain some of its secret files. Caroline Elkins, the Pulitzer prize-winning historian of the Mau Mau rebellion, warns that the FCO’s history of concealment and denial is such that the public should also continue to [be] sceptical.

    Would you buy a used car from the FCO?

  2. Whodatis says:

    Honestly, as it relates to the Cayman Islands … I truly could not give less of a damn about the corrupted, despicable and predatory British government.

    This entire Operation Tempura debacle serves as only one good reason why – out of many.

    Not only has it (UK govt.) demonstrated time and again that it does not consider me one of their own – it also blatantly states that its primary and sole concern in respect  to Cayman is that of its own self-preservation.

    There is really nothing more to say.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only reader of CNS who is considerably more irritated by John Evans' efforts to appear solid, reliable, principled, put upon, doing his duty, abused by the FCO and sundry cops in two countries etc etc than I am by Bridger trying to establish HIS case? [What] was Evans doing in Seale's office and if Kernohan gave him the go ahead, well XXXX XXXX!! Again, XXX, Kernohan?

  4. Anonymous says:

    For all you  LoYal Watchers who believe all things UK are good please search and read the Time to Wake Up Report done about the recent  UK riots done by and independent body. Its findings in relation to UK policing says it all. I doubt some will because colonial blissfulness makes us all so blind until we wake up and find out the truth.

    • Whodatis says:

      Excellent post.

      However, as long as the British government and powers that be continue to successfully fool its majority White population that the gangs and criminal element are predominantly made up of the Black and Brown members of its society … absolutely nothing will change.

      I have lived in the UK and have traveled to every region – and I know what is what, regardless of how anyone tries to spin the reality.

      Yes, the shooting of Mark Duggan did spark the initial unrest within the local area – but for the following days the burning, looting, fighting, and murdering was taking place nation-wide.

      We saw many young Black men causing unrest in Tottenham and other areas of London plastered all over the international news. However, the rioting and unrest in Salford, Manchester, Liverpool, Croydon even Glasgow did not receive the same amount of coverage. I wonder why?

      Why were those thousands of young (some as young as 11 years old!), white males and females denied the same access to fame as the other groups?

      Furthermore, it begs the question; Why were the masses of young, White Brits in those faraway regions taking part in the unrest at all? Clearly they didn't even know Mark Duggan nor did they share the same grievances as the (statistically proven and personally experienced) discriminated against ethnic minorities in the capital.

      Lastly, just pay attention to the news stories coming out of the UK on a daily basis. That society is rife with serious crime, including assaults and murders … from ALL sectors.

      Seriously, never have I seen such a grotesque disconnect between the (minute) political powers and the majority everyday members of the society as I have in the UK.

      (Remember the infamous image of the hooded chav making the gun sign behind PM David Cameron's back?)

      This is not to take a reckless swipe at the UK but it is to highlight a serious and ever growing risk that is overwhelming that country.

      I wish them luck – they're going to need it.

      That being said, much of the above are further reasons why I am reluctant to entertain or employ every piece of advice sent our way by the UK.

  5. Uncle Thomas says:

    They play while we pay is that how it always is under this wonderful Colonial rule. Hush unaah mouth unaah know unaaah love it ???

  6. Anonymous says:

    The findings of Tempura were surely explosive otherwise why this active suppression by the AG? Surely the findings of the ivestigations and the many interviews conducted show many local power brokers in a poor light if not guilty of a prosecutable offence. Also by keeping these court cases going menas the FOI cannot be used to reval the docs.

    • John Evans says:

      Curious logic there.

      Fact 1 – Tempura/Cealt turned up less than zip when it comes to any form of illegal activity.

      Fact 2 – Tempura/Cealt has (directly and indirectly) cost the people of the Cayman Islands well in excess of CI$25million already and that bill is rising daily.

      Aren't both those two facts good enough reason to try to keep it all quiet without any conspiracy theory?

      And then there's Fact 3 – The on-going court cases haven't stopped a number of people, including myself, using FOI to uncover vast amounts of very damaging information about Tempura/Cealt.

      The issue here doesn't seem to be about the content of the material but who is the legal owner of it. Be patient because in a couple of weeks time we should all know the answer to that one.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually John Evans, Mr thinks he knows it all,   

        Fact 1: Why would Bridger be continuing his fight if he didn’t have any relevant information for his defence?

        Fact 2: Why would the Cayman Islands be spending all this money to try to make Bridger not be able to use the documents if they have nothing to hide? Your saying they have spent enough already but that is their own problem.

        And then there’s fact 3: Your saying documents damaging to Tempura, try again, the correct fact is there are documents damaging to the Cayman Islands Government…which they are using the tax payers money of the Cayman Islands to try to cover up.

        Previously working for a newspaper you would think you had a bit more of a noggin than you seems to. I have been reading your to the point comments about Tempura for a long time now and to be honest your irritating me, when the truth does come out, as it will, you are going to look just as ridiculous as the Attorney General. I will take such pleasure from that.  So as you say, be patient because you’re all going to be humiliated.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Cayman should thank Lyndon Martin for this…it all started with his little white one

  8. John Evans says:

    Just one little point here.

    I understand these figures are only the accrued direct costs to CIG so far. They won't include any possible settlements or future orders for costs against CIG.

    If, as is always possible, CIG ends up having to pay the other parties costs this bill could well double. In fact the total costs for the UK hearing have been estimated by one normally reliable source over here at CI$500K.

  9. Anonymous says:

    i don't know why I am getting thumbs down. Can anyone answer these questions? I am a UK resident following this very closely and if MY tax is going towards Bridger's defence I want to know.

  10. Billybob says:

    Can someone please explain to me the legal basis upon which the CIG could be liable to Mr. Scott for damages?  Merely by a prosecution failing to prove a criminal complaint to the standards required by the criminal law does not permit the defendant to a right to compensation other than costs.  We don't really have money to give away at the moment.

    • Judgnjury says:

      There is not one. The Henderson case had specific issues with would only be relevant to a member of the judiciary and would not apply to a police officer. The Auditor-Gemeral should probably ask the Attorney-General for an explanation before public funds are wasted.

    • John Evans says:

      Check your facts. He wasn't prosecuted for anything, he was just arrested and then the Tempura team couldn't turn up any real grounds for the arrest.

      To quote Martin Bridger in a press release dated 4 August 2008, 'With regards to Mr Burmon Scott, he will not be charged and is no longer a suspect in this case.'

      In May 2009 it was reported –

      Burmon Scott has filed a writ in Grand Court naming Special Constable Richard Coy, The Acting Commissioner of the RCIPS, and Attorney General the Honourable Samuel Bulgin for unlawful arrest. He is seeking an unspecified amount of money for assault, damage to reputation, loss of wages, and other damages.

      The retired police officer was arrested on 15 May, 2008 by Coy, Martin Bridger’s second in command, on suspicion of having committed the offence of Misconduct in a Public Office. According to the lawsuit Scott endured hours of humiliation, his personal items were confiscated, and he was denied bail until the following day.

      According to material supplied to the Auditor General in early 2009 Coy, who is recorded in the draft audit (see CNS library) as being one of the three private contractors taken on to run Tempura in June 2008 at a daily rate of £447, wasn't even officially involved in the investigation at the time the arrest took place.

      XXXX

      Any more questions?

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, the original question still stands.  I cannot see the basis for a cause of action in the circumstances in question.  Since when do you get damages for loss of reputation on an assault claim?  Your summary of the claim makes it sound even weaker than I thought it was previously.

    • Anonymous says:

      In the ordinary case such as this a claim cannot be made absent malice or bad faith, so it does not appear that there could be any civil action.

    • Anonymous says:

      False arrest for starters….

  11. John Evans says:

    I take issue with the use ofthe word 'bungled'. The search, which I conducted on 3 September 2007 in the role of what Stuart Jack later described as a 'participating informant' under the terms of RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act), was entirely successful because it established that a box file of documents was not present in Desmond Seales' office. Whether or not it had ever been there is another matter, all I was doing was answering the 'is it or isn't it there?' question.

    On the question of the involvement of the FCO in this search, a few months ago I sent CNS copies of a 'RESTRICTED' letter and an email that were obtained during another court case in February 2010.This court case is now closed so the documents are in the public domain but some matters relating to it are currently the subject of further criminal investigations in the UK so I can't comment any futher on that.

    However, the documents show that on 30 August 2007 Leigh Turner, the FCO's Director of Overseas Territories, contacted the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for assistance in what became Operation Tempura. That's well before my search took place.

    The timeline further goes on to clearly show that not only the FCO but also the Met were fully engaged in plans for the on-island operation by the 3 September 2007.

    If you want to talk about things being 'bungled' take a look at the rest of the operation and the attempts made during Dan Duguay's 2009 audit of Tempura/Cealt to cover up what had really happened. Thanks to FOI it is now clear that this financial investigation was fatally compromised by what appears to be deliberate misinformation so the audit of the operations needs to re-visited and completed.

    You might also revisit the two conflicting FOI releases made by RCIPS and the Met relating to the documentation from the early stages of Operation Tempura, which I believe is currently the subject of A.G. – v – Martin Bridger. These show that a substantial amount of documentation was removed from the Cayman Islands and sent to the Met in London but the Met have no trace of it.

    As several people have noted in the past, "You couldn't make all this up if you tried."   

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      The powers that be clearly cannot be trusted.

      • Anonymous says:

        Angry men with resentments against authority should notbe allowed near guns. 

        • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

          Firstly, only those who care about law and order are concerned about these matters, but the lawless can get as many firearms as they want and they do, regardless of what the law says.

          Secondly, you clearly wish to discuss anything else but the fact that the UK cannot be trusted.
  12. Anonymous says:

    Can someone help with some questions I have. Is Bridger funding his own legal costs? If he is funding himself, it goes to show that the man must have earnt millions throughout his career. Also, how come he has these papers? Is he even allowed to have them?  Don't they belong to the Government?

    • John Evans says:

      I'll try to answer two of those questions from the material I've obtained recently.

      1. Is Bridger funding his own legal costs?

      Yes. The ruling on this is still secret but I understand that it relates to the fact that he was a private contractor rather than an actual employee of either CIG or RCIPS.

      2. How come he has these papers?

      Good question. This issue arose when one FOI request I made to RCIPS showed they had handed over the nowmissing records to the Met in London then the Met promptly denied any knowledge of them. To be fair who actually holds the documents is unclear, all we really know for certain is that they were removed from the Cayman Islands, but it is something I am looking at in the context of the UK's Data Protection Act.

      I'd like to comment on the other points you raised but for legal reasons I won't at this point. 

       

      • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

        The British ruling class clearly cannot be trusted.

        • Anonymous says:

          Unlike the Born Caymanian ruling class, right Dennie? Dear oh dear oh dear. I despair of some of the nonsense you and others post without thinking more than a nanosecond about it.

          • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

            Deflection is a useless effort.  My point remains unchallenged.

            • Anonymous says:

              You had a point? I didn’t notice. I just saw a sweeping generalisation derived from prejudice.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you ever wake up in the morning and think "Today I will have a life" or do you just wake up in another version of "Ground Hog Day II : Tempura Time".

  13. Anonymous says:

    Domestic corruption leads to many many indirect costs and expenses.

  14. Anonymous says:

    We all know there is lots of corruption in Cayman. 

     

    So for these guys to come in and investigate and the whole thing to get turned around on them (Kernohan who called for the investigation, Bridger, Polaine etc) – it suggests to me that their investigation was stopped by the 'powers that be' who did not want thier corrupt relations investigated any further. 

    And yes some dumb moves by the investigators along the way. 

     

    Why else is the AG spending so much of our money to supress the facts!!!

     

    my 2 cents…..

    • John Evans says:

      That's what they want you to believe – that this was a legitimate investigation that was blocked by local politics. But that's complete nonsense.

      This may have started off as a serious investigation but, based on material uncovered over the past two years, it was then hi-jacked by former police officers who appear to have been only interested in personal financial gain. In the process theses same officers carefully removed the only real obstacle in their way and that's what this claim is all about.

      You only need to go back to the Cresswell ruling that theconduct of the team 'reflected the gravest abuse of the process' to see where it was all going wrong. If that's not enough how about a legal advisor dis-barred for working illegally in the Cayman Islands.

      In the course of about two years the Tempura team appear to have broken more laws (including filing false information with the Auditor General) than any of the people they were supposedly investigating yet they were the ones still screaming about wrongdoing in the Cayman Islands at the beginning of last year. It's proved, as your comments above demonstrate, to be a very effective smokescreen to cover up what really happened but that's all it is.

      Right now the only people refusing to properly investigate Operations Tempura and Cealt are the Governor's Office and the FCO because they both know that, just on the basis of the material I have uncovered, that process is going to prove extremely embarrassing. A full investigation will show that Tempura should have been quietly shut down in February 2008 and forgotten about but certain people successfully put forward a series of wild, and completely false, claims designed to do nothing more than keep the whole mess rolling.