Ex-London cop speaks out on RCIPS probe secrecy

| 02/04/2013

Bridger rubber ring (2).jpg(CNS): The former Scotland Yard cop who led the ill-fated probe into possible RCIPS corruption has spoken out about the secrecy which now surrounds the fallout of the investigation. Martin Bridger, who was the senior investigating officer on Operation Tempura, has questioned the efforts of officials to restrict public examination of the decisions and actions made. which, he says, raises questions over good governance, accountability and integrity. Bridger, who is facing several law suits as a result of his role in the controversial probe, is at risk of losing his financial support for his defence because of a desire by FCO and Cayman officials to keep a lid on what is understood to be embarrassing behaviour by the authorities involved in Tempura.

Bridger said it was understandable in the absence of facts that inaccuracies about the investigation and his role in it continue to circulate, but because of court proceedings he was limited in what he could say. 

“Since my return from the Cayman Islands there has been a concerted campaign by the establishment to keep the truth about what happened during Operation Tempura from the public,” Bridger stated in a letter released to the press Tuesday.

There are three current actions against Bridger, which are all linked to the advice he received from legal counsel working on the Tempura case. The first was filed by former police commissioner Stuart Kernohan, who was one of the main victims of Tempura. In a 2009 suit Kernohan accused Bridger of Misconduct in Public Office. Bridger said he needs to use certain documents from the investigation in defence of that action but the Cayman and UK authorities have filed suits against him to prevent him doing so.

“They are trying to prevent me using legal advice which I received during Operation Tempura,” he said.

Although limited in his ability to explain his position because of the legal action, Bridger provided some details of what he described as continued efforts by the authorities to hinder his attempts to defend the action by Kernohan and to conceal the truth of the probe from the public.

In 2009 the Cayman Attorney General agreed to represent Bridger in the Kernohan action provided the UK former cop agreed not to criticise the local judiciary or the AG’s chambers, and at first he agreed. Bridger was assisted by Douglas Schofield, who had been part of the Tempura prosecution team. But when the AG’s chambers told him that Kernohan was abandoning his legal action, Bridger decided to make the complaint he had earlier agreed to shelve. This related to the behaviour of some members of the judiciary, the AG and FCO officials during the Tempura probe.

“I thought that by making an official complaint people would be held accountable for their actions and the truth about what happened during Operation Tempura would be revealed,” he said. But instead, the AG withdrew the defence support in the Kernohan action, which turned out to be still live. The RCIPS commissioner also refused to help Bridger, who was sworn in as a special constable during the ill-fated operation, because of the breach over Bridger’s original agreement to keep his criticisms to himself.

“I was left with no other alternative other than to fund my own defence,” he said, adding that after almost a year he was able to get some funding from the Metropolitan Police as he was still a UK cop when he was first dispatched undercover to begin the RCIPS probe.

While Bridger’s complaint was investigated and ultimately dismissed, when he asked for a copy of the report he was refused. Eventually he was supplied with written reasons for the dismissal but only if he signed an undertaking not to share the contents. In his efforts to avoid a fourth legal action, Bridger complied but he urged the Cayman community to ask why he was asked to sign such an undertaking.

Pointing to a recent failed mediation process between the CIG and Kernohan, Bridger stated that he still needed the documents he acquired during Tempura to fight the action against him. “Much of the advice I particularly want torely on was provided by Andre Mondesir, who was my independent counsel for much of the duration of the Tempura investigation,” he said.

Although a decision by the Cayman courts over the documents is still outstanding and local as well as UK authorities continue to do all they can to stop him, a UK court has ruled in Bridger’s favour that he should be allowed to use the documents as part of his defence.

The problems for Bridger are far from over, however, as a request by the current police commissioner, David Baines, to the Metropolitan Police asking that organisation to force Bridger to return the documents, despite the UK court decision, has put  the funding from the London cops in jeopardy, leaving Bridger with what could be a hefty legal bill.

Meanwhile, as the UK and local authorities continue their fight against both Bridger and Kernohan, the local tax payer continues to foot the growing bill for an exercise in avoiding exposure, not necessarily of corruption, but what is believed to be embarrassing levels of incompetence.   

See full letter below.

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  1. Eamonn Harris says:

    I don’t see your point Rorschach. I’ve made it clear that I will indeed continue kicking over stones until my wrongful conviction is overturned. And the Cayman Islanders must be made aware of just what they are dealing with here.

    My conviction was gained after the senior investigating officer and his sidekick – who has since admitted lying in another matter and was subsequently let off completely (friends in high places!!) –  both told a so-called supergrass witness that he would be charged with attempted murder if he did not implicate me in criminality.  The witness refused to lie and was then told his wife would be charged instead. So the witness agreed and they began coaching him what they wanted him to say.  That’s why there were no tape recordings or notes when witnesses were “interviewed” by CIB and Bridger.

    As for Hector Harvey, he was a career robber facing 21 years in jail – instead he received four years, (even though the judge told him he was a liar whose evidence didn’t make sense). Whilst in the “custody” of CIB  he had a mobile phone, a CIB lover and he used to go out at night to commit armed raids (36 were committed while CIB were “looking after” him):  http://www.thefreelibrary.com/HELD+ROBBER+DID+36+RAIDS.-a088156402   

    There are many other instances of threats, inducements, changed evidence and coaching of witnesses, false warrants, all of which takes years to unearth (cf. Hillsborough – and look at what the media printed about that in the early days). It takes years before police officers retire from their jobs and no longer fear retribution if they come forward and tell the truth about corruption.

    As for my second trial, the police made sure it collapsed because I had discovered just what had gone on with the witnesses in my first trial. I was desperate for this second trial to go ahead.

    It is a very murky world and the Cayman Islanders must be enlightened as to how these people operate. They have friends in very high places. They are not called “The Untouchables” for nothing.  

    So,  Rorschach, I will indeed continue to kick over the stones that the police are desperate to keep in place.  Mine (and one other) is the last supergrass trial set to be overturned. It takes many years.  Whilst the following link involves defendants I never knew,  many of the police officers are the same as those who dealt with my case. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/oct/19/met-police-detectives-cleared-retrial

    As I have said, it is only right that the Cayman Islanders know what they are dealing with.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The time of his life. And we paid for it!

  3. Martin Bridger says:

    The photograph which has been shown of me was in fact taken on a family holiday in Cuba prior to my arrival in the Cayman Islands. It was originally printed in the Daily Mail and contributed to the wrongful damage of my reputation. The Daily Mail were directed to remove the photograph from their on-line edition of the article by the Press Complaints Commission and sent me a written apology for the error they had made. This photo should not be used in a way where it continues to portray me as an individual who was only in the Cayman Islands for pleasure. In the past I have personally brought this issue to the attention of CNS. It continues to be used improperly and only serves to amuse those who are not interested in the truth. I am and will continue to try and make available to both the Cayman Islands and International community the truth as to what occured in the Operation Tempura investigation.My family holidays are private and should remain that way.

    • Anonymous says:

      … and contributed to the wrongful damage of my reputation….


      Mr. Bridger, you damaged your own reputation enough when you unlawfully arrested a judge.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mr Bridger you also damaged the reputation of a number of completely innocent people by conspiring with Cayman Net News to run stories deliberately intended to undermine their credibility. In 2008 you encouraged Net News to run editorial comments questioning the credibility of not only the operation's legal advisor, who was forced to quit the job,  but also witnesses and defendants. Your colleague, Martin Polaine, later fed the Financial Times detailed allegations against senior members of the judiciary while an investigation, which cleared them of any alleged misconduct, was still in progress. Guess now you know how they all felt at the time.

    • Anonymous says:

      You say "This photo should not be used in a way where it continues to portray me as an individual who was only in the Cayman Islands for pleasure."


      Many people believe that at some stage your primary purpose changed to lining your pockets at our expense, and yes, to enjoy the simple pleasures that your new-found salary could bring.


      I thank CNS for that picture as it accurately portrays how many of us here recall your stint on the island.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, why don't you go complain to the Cayman Press Complaints Commission?  You can send them a complaint addressed to "Cayman Press Complaints Commission, Third Trash Can From The Left, Outside The Library, Heroes Square".  Address it for the attention of Mr. Doesnotgivea@@@@.  The complaint will be proceessed in the ordinary way.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr.Bridger, can it be that you found yourself a little out of your depth here? Feeling collars in London is one thing, but the Caymanian people are a lot hardier than you may have supposed. Their menfolk took to the seas for 16 month stretches to support their families and never enjoyed the publicly-funded perks that you and your colleagues enjoyed with your families being flown out here on a regular basis as one sorry example. Can you appreciate how ridiculous that appeared? Probably not. You arrived here seemingly very cocky and sure of yourself (are you a born Londoner by any chance?) but found yourself completely at sea. It's a big world out there, Mr.Bridger. Time to humble yourself for a change, perhaps?

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Bridger, to be honest, "the more you stir the sh–, the stinker it gets."  That's an old time Caymanian saying that I think applies to your situation.  I understand you wanting to clear your name though.   I'm not sure what advise to give you on this being that they have circled the wagons. Corruption is rampant here and outsiders are treated like the big bad wolf out to get the Caymanians so you can't win for losing.  Best of luck to you.

      I would like to add for those people talking about the MET:  Mr. Bridger is only one person and unless he was specifically charged for something, why bring it up?

  4. Anonymous says:

    All this turmoil is being forced onto us because there are powerful people who do not want the truth to be known.

    The citizens of Cayman have already paid for this investigation and therefore already own the truth. And the people who want to keep it secret also are being paid by the citizens.

    How can this situation exist in a democracy?   No matter how distasteful the truth may be, we are damaging ourselves far more by trying to keep it buried,

    Let the truth out and take the consequences.


  5. Eamonn Harris says:

    Martin Bridger states: “I insisted that as the complainant I was entitled to have a documented record of his reasoning”. 


    I state that I am entitled to have a documented record of Martin Bridger’s meetings with supergrass witnesses. However, it seems that neither tape recordings nor notes were ever taken. This resulted in false evidence being given at trial in 2001.


    Martin Bridger states: “It is my view that in a democratic society, efforts to restrict public examination of decisions and actions made by public officials should not be allowed”. 


    I agree totally but I have not been allowed to fully examine all the actions Martin Bridger and his legal advisor at that time – Martin Polaine – made surrounding my case which resulted in false evidence and wrongful convictions.


    For the past 12 years, I have been demanding that New Scotland Yard investigate the actions of Martin Bridger, Martin Polaine and certain other officers in the infamous supergrass trials of 2000/2001.   Surprisingly enough the Metropolitan Police, at present, are not interested – perhaps because the Met are still funding Mr Bridger?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Tempura should be looked back on as an important part of the process that is sorting out, or making best efforts to sort out, deep rooted corruption in the Cayman Islands.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is the story that just keeps on giving.

    Knacker of the Yard who ran the total farce Operation Tempura, complaining about "efforts to restrict public examination of decisions and actions made by public officials". 

    For his efforts I am sure the Caymanian people thank him from the heart of their bottom.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think this guy is regretting this picture.

    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      Is it possible to look at that picture without laughing?

      • Anonymous says:

        From his posts. Bridger is not laughing when he sees it.  Rather he seems to be crying like a small child about it all not being fair.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can’t blame him for exposing! For far too long foreigners have seduced the native man into the realm of destruction! They make every thing look so pretty and easy. And when the time comes for accountability, guess who gets stuck with the blame? Yup. You guessed it. The others? They done gone back home! But you have to ask yourself. Why are our leaders today so gullible? Aggrogance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the people who voted them in are…and guess what, expats had nothing to do with that. Muppet.

  10. St Peter says:

    Ok Mr. Bridger – you need to let this go and move on with your life…

    A good first step would be for you to admit that we in the Cayman Islands are just too slippery to be caught in corruption – even if Sherlock Holmes and Watson are the investigators…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Bridger sounds like he has opened a can of worms & Cayman's people need to pay attention.

    My big question (yes I have a few) why is the AG going to such drastic measures for the documents to not be revealed?? Is it really THAT bad?! Maybe they should release the documents. & if heads shall roll then let it be!!

    With the current rising rate of corruption in the highest of high places, I pinky promise I won't be surprised with the findings.  

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have no axe to grind for or against Bridger but it is clear that there is something fishy going on by the Establishment in these continual efforts to prevent him from having the entire Tempura business exposed and critically analysed publicly. Reading between the lines, one can see whose toes (ie M'learned friends') have been trodden on but surely in these supposedly enlightened times of "full transparency" one should not have to read "between the lines".

  13. John Evans says:

    I'm not wasting time engaging in any lengthy debates about this. Let's just say that my only reaction to Bridger's letter is – ROTLMAO!!!!!!! It took long enough but I guess what goes around finally comes around?

  14. Bored with Tempura says:

    What is interesting about this letter is how much Bridger has left out.

    As one example – the original complaint that led to the Aina investigation is not a confidential document. It was written by Bridger's current business partner, Martin Polaine, who is free ro release it if he chooses to. Why do you think that, apart from a selective release to the Financial Times two years ago, he's never done that?

    Same with the Aina report. Why has Bridger never challenged the gagging order or better still just ignored it? After all he (or to be strictly accurate Martin Polaine) walked away from a previous agreement with the Chief Justice. What sanctions can the Goverment of the Cayman Islands possibly apply to a UK citizen living in the UK if they decide to go public with this?

    The problem with the press release is that it doesn’t say anything much. It suggests a lot but doesn’t actually add anything to the overall debate. There's plenty of padding but no actual sunstance. Smoke and mirrors maybe? Mr Bridger here's the deal – put up or shut up but just stop whining about how hard done by you were. £747 a day all found wasn't exactly starvation wages was it?

    In the meantime I can see more than a few questions being asked by the media in the UK about the Met funding Bridger’s legal costs. I’ll bet the FOI requests and complaints are already being filed.

    • Anonymous says:

      No Bobo. Your efforts to make this go away with all your supposedly legal (yawn) flim flam stuff does not impress us. Abusing Bridger does not impress us either. Let the whole thing come out. If Bridger is seen to be a total tosser, well and good, but this blasting of him without his having the chance to defend himself is a problem for us. You sound like a defendent for M'Learned Friends.





  15. Anonymous says:

    Good grief, what a cluster….

    Damned if he does and maybe damned if he don't…got a feeling that certain Human Rights laws are being breached in this case..how can known evidence not be submitted in defence of a man who knows what is in there…

    In the continued attempts of all concerned to keep this quiet, then it seems logical to me that only a human rights court can decide…

    • Anonymous says:

      When that evidence was obtained (or in this case retained) unlawfully.