Jack’s culpability becomes focus of ex top cops

| 22/04/2013

commissioner_stuart_kernoha.jpg(CNS): Former RCIPS police commissioner Stuart Kernohan has joined with the lead investigator of Operation Tempura, Martin Bridger, calling for all of the facts surrounding the bungled police corruption investigation to be revealed. Kernohan, who was sacked by the previous Cayman Islands governor, Stuart Jack, and is still attempting to get some form of legal redress, has said there needs to be a full and open investigation into the controversial 2007-2009 probe and the role of Jack in particular, who, Kernohan claims, lied about a critical piece of information. Bridger has also stated in a complaint to Scotland Yard that, had the truth been told to him by Jack at the onset, Operation Tempura would have lasted no more than a few weeks.

Kernohan said theformer governor lied about authorizing the out of hours late night search by reporters at the Cayman Net News offices, where they worked, looking for evidence to support suspicions that a senior police officer was leaking information to the late Desmond Seales, Net News editor in chief at the time.

Following Bridger’s recent official complaint to the UK police, as reported in the British media last week, Kernohan has said he is fully supportive of a thorough Metropolitan Police investigation into the complaint of alleged criminal conduct during that period in the Cayman Islands. Bridger has made a direct allegation of criminality on the part of UK officials to the London police, as he was employed directly by Scotland Yard when he first came to Cayman undercover, posing as a real estate developer along with just one other UK officer.

Kernohan, who was once on the opposite side of the investigation to Bridger but is now backing the ex-Tempura boss in his calls for complete public exposure of the probe, said he has always been keen to see a full investigation and in particular the conduct of Jack.

“From the outset, and continuing until this day, I have called for a full investigation into the conduct of the Governor and member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Stuart Jack, Samuel Bulgin the Attorney General, the Chief Secretary George McCarthy, and others involved in this fiasco,” Kernohan said in a statement released on Friday. “I continue to call for a full investigation to ensure all of the facts and documents are made public into the operations and circumstances surrounding Operation Tempura. At nearly every juncture, these probes have been resisted or, in some instances, significant reports concealed and covered up by those with the power to release them. This leads to the inevitable question: What are they hiding?” the former top cop asked rhetorically.

Kernohan said his position on the issues was simple and straightforward: “Let’s have a comprehensive investigation to expose the facts, as I am not seeing it at the moment. Open up the memos, reports, emails and documents so all the information relating to the original investigation, Operation Tempura, can be made public. Show us the truth, the whole truth, I have nothing to hide,” he added.

Kernohan has already submitted a statement to the metropolitan police in connection with Bridger’s official complaint.

After he was removed from the investigation it continued for almost two years but did not result in a single conviction for corruption – merely a very big tab for the Cayman tax payer of some CI$10 million, including a significant damage payment to a judge for a wrongful arrest. However , Bridger has slowly been raising complaints about the FCO authorities and their role in the controversial enquiry.

In his complaint to Scotland Yard Bridger says he was never told that the governor had given the nod to Kernohan to allow staff members to enter the Net News office and look for evidence and, as a result, he treated that as an illegal break-in and his investigation focused on that, which is why Kernohan and his chief superintendent, John Jones, were suspended and  Net News reporter and former MLA, Lyndon Martin, was arrested for burglary.

In his redacted statement, Bridger says that his investigation proceeded on the basis “that Kernohan and Jones had gone on a ‘frolic of their own’ and had behaved unlawfully,” referring to both the commissioner and CS Jones, who coordinated the search of the office.

Although his statement released to the press has been redacted, it is clear that Bridger is referring to Stuart Jack when he states that he now has direct evidence in the form of witness statements that, despite what he was told by the governor at the time, not only was Jack fully aware of the search but had, in fact, authorised it.

“Had I had known this at the time the investigation would never have proceeded in the way which it did and all of the unfortunate events which have occurred since would not have taken place,” Bridger tells the Met in his complaint.

In his statement, Kernohan also says that the governor lied not only to Bridger but to the press as well when the news came out that he and two other senior police officers had been suspended and that a team of Scotland Yard officers were in Cayman conducting a police corruption investigation. 

“I set up a meeting with Stuart Jack and the attorney general, Samuel Bulgin specifically to brief them on the allegations and to discuss the use of a witness/member of staff of the Cayman Net News to recover the evidence who had full access,” Kernohan writes in the statement. “I held three meetings with Stuart Jack on 27th, 28th and 29th August 2007. The purpose of these meetings was to fully brief him on all the available information and discuss how to protect evidence prior to the arrival of an outside team.”

Kernohan documented the meetings in his police book and notes that Jack later denied any knowledge of the entry, despite the well documented meetings.

“There can be no doubt that Governor Stuart Jack was fully briefed, authorised the operation and was fully aware of all the details. These details included the type of operation, whom it involved, when and where it as going to take place. His authorisation and direct knowledge derived from the meetings with myself on three occasions over three days and the meetings with Chief Superintendent John Jones in the presence of witness Simon Tonge on at least two occasions.”

Kernohan then states that David Legge, editor of Grand Caymanian Magazine, had asked the governor at a press briefing in March 2008 if he had any knowledge of the police operation to enter the Net News on 3 September 2007.

“Mr Jack in front of many witnesses stated that he had only become aware of the operation on being briefed on it by Chief Superintendent Bridger after his arrival on the island. Mr Jack’s answer gave the clear impression that he was without knowledge of the entry either prior to 3rd September 2007, or afterwards until the arrival of Chief Superintendent Bridger. This was clearly not the case.”

As documents regarding operation Tempura remain under wraps and the full story is still secret, Bridger’s complaint is now in the hands of the Metropolitan Police in London, as he has alleged criminality on the part of the former governor as well as various other officials involved. 

See Kernohan and Bridger’s statements to the Metropolitan Police below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I just plain tired of hearing this crap.  Release evreything and let the chips fall where they may but at the expense of the UK.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How can the Metropolitan Police possibly be allowed to investigate this? Bridger was THEIR own man. They were funding his defence!!! If the Met investigate this, it will be a travesty as we all know what the findings will be. Talk about corrupt to the core.

  3. John Evans says:

    Just to set the record straight here. I began campaigning for an inquiry into the conduct of Operation Tempura back in September 2009 after Lyndon Martin was cleared of any wrong-doing. That appeal has been consistently obstructed by Mr Bridger over the following years. You need to look at this very carefully and ask yourselves what has caused the turn around? I know what forced it and in due course that will become public knowledge but right now I'm a witness in another on-going investigation so this is all I will be posting here.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Quote, "Bridger has also stated in a complaint to Scotland Yard that, had the truth been told to him by Jack at the onset, Operation Tempura would have lasted no more than a few weeks." That's an interesting comment because it doesn't fit in with the well-documented facts. In March 2008 Operation Tempura had come up with no evidence of wrong-doing but instead of observing standard law enforcement protocols and quietly wrapping the whole thing up and going home Bridger staged a grandstanding exercise on live TV. He then, in a contentious and often bad-tempered relationship with Governor Jack, not only continued the investigations long past their sell-by date but also attempted to expand them. That statement quoted above is complete nonsense.   

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr Kernohan, there's an old saying that seems apt here, "He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon." You know the one thing I see missing in both the statements – the names of John Yates and Sir Ian Blair – who were the two senior Met officer engaged in setting up Operation Tempura on 30 August 2007.