Cop in collapsed case gets CS employee award

| 06/02/2014

(CNS): A press release from Government Information Services announcing November’s civil service employee of the month Thursday revealed that the lead officer in the collapsed ‘Punch n Play’ case this week, in which the defendants were acquitted before the trial started due to some fundamental flaws in the investigation and prosecution, has got the award. Government officials described Detective Constable Ingrid Spence of the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit as “a force to be reckoned with”, just the day after a Grand Court judge had been baffled by the failure of the same officer and told the prosecuting counsel who had inherited the case at the last minute that the officer had let her down.

According to the GIS release, Spence was given the award “for always striving to bring her best to her work”. Yet Justice Charles Quin had questioned in open court exactly what the lead officer in the ‘Punch n Play’ case had been doing for the last three years when at the start of trial she had failed to secure a fundamental piece of evidence on which the case was entirely dependent.

Nevertheless, the same officer was lauded by the deputy governor, who said her dedication to her work had been exemplary and played a significant part in her selection.

“Keep up the good work,” Franz Manderson had told Spence, adding, “This recognition symbolises and reinforces the values and standards that we expect all staff to exhibit.”

The release went on to say that as a detective constable within the FCU, her responsibilities involve directing and investigating complex fraud matters and assisting numerous local and international agencies.

“Her investigative acumen and persistent efforts distinguish her work within the Islands, but also when she collaborates with organisations in other jurisdictions, notably the United States (US). Whether it is for simple or complex fraud cases, DC Spence consistently employs the same level of dedication, initiative, professionalism and follow-through,”

However, in the case against Andre and Sasha Espeut, accused or forging a winning ticket in the Foster’s supermarket annual scratch car competition ‘Punch n Play’, the officer had in fact failed to contact the people who had produced a critical spread sheet, which the crown said was the fundamental piece of evidence that had demonstrated the fraud, but its veracity, accuracy and origins did not support the standard of evidence required in law.

Before directing a jury to acquit the defendants because of this fundamental error, the judge had pointed the finger squarely at the police officer in charge of the investigation.

In order to support the spreadsheet, the officer should have contacted the company that produced it and researched the necessary information to support the document. However, it seems as though it was not until the morning that the trial was about to start in the more than three year old case that the officer began attempting to support the evidence she had presented and contacted the manufacturers of the cards.

Although Justice Quin is always quick to commend and thank officers from the RCIPS who are involved in cases that come before him when their work has brought offenders to justice or to commend there bravery and quick thinking, his comments regarding their shortcomings are less frequent, making his concerns in the case this week all the more emphatic.

Despite the judge's concerns, however, about the inadequacies of the police in this case, Spence’s bosses clearly feel very differently as she was also lauded by police management in Decemebr for another award for her dedication and ‘outstanding investigative’ skills.

See full release from GIS below.

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Category: Crime

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  1. anonymous says:

    What is the solution? Bring in UK police?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Employee of the month for November… Not only is the story crazy but why did it take GIS over two months to write the press release.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m not going to knock this ladies entire career for this screw up. But I am going to say I hope she not handling McKeeva’s case 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    Maybe she had more important things to do.

  5. Juliette Gooding says:

    I know Ingrid and I know she is meticulous and dedicated to her work. She is thorough, conscientious and great at what she does.  I do not have the facts but I support her awards and know without a doubt the RCIPS is much better for having her on board.  To Ingrid I say, keep your head held high and continue to serve your community to the best of your ability.  None of us is perfect but we do our best. It's amazing that no one ever notices what you do right but can keep a tally of what you do or the think you did wrong.  Love you girl. Head high!

  6. Anonymous says:

    And  I guess there's never been a judgment by a Grand Court Judge that has been overturned by the Court of Appeal either right? Ayhhhhhhh

    • Anonymous says:

      Not the same thing at all. She allowed a case to drag on for 3 YEARS and had no evidence for the DPP to try and win the case. This is BEYOND slack and she should be reprimanded and not awarded for such actions!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good job Ingrid!  Ignore the negative post  🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, another MBE nomination in the works here just like some other useless public servants we have.  And this site just about provides the only outlet for negative comments.  Try making a negative comment in government you will get nowhere, because the fat cats in there never learned to take any criticism.  Here is a thought…..improve your image with the people and watch the negative comments dwindle!

      • Anonymous says:

        Not so, to get an MBE you need to invite the governor to black tie dinners and talk about Miss Lassie.

  8. Turtle says:

    No wonder the uk government wants to take over. Really can't blame them……lol!

  9. Anonymous says:

    How is it logical to conclude that a single case in a police officer's career defines their overall capacity as a professional?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Only in Cayman……We should be so proud ………NOT……I for one am utterly embarrassed by such ridiculousness.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a mess!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Isn' itthe DPP lawyer"s job to see that the necessary witnesses are available for trial?

  13. Dred says:

    Before we assasinate this person maybe we need more information.

    I believe we JUMP too quickly to kill people around here. I don't know her from a hole in the wall and I suspect many of you are in the same boat as I am.

    Now saying that it would not be the first time in the working world when one mistake (if it even was hers to begin with and not her taking the knife for someone else) outshined many good victories.

    Let's keep a clean head here that MAYBE it was her fault or MAYBE someone else AND maybe even if it was her fault that she may have done excellent on others.

    We don't know the full story ONLY the fact that it seemed SHE dropped the ball.

    Let's also keep in mine that not everytime in the working world someone get's handed the BLAME for something they in fact was the one who failed at the task but just the ESCAPE coat.



    • anonymous says:

      I had an "escape coat" once. It had a map printed, money and flashcards in Arabic requesting safe passage inside the lining.

    • anonymous says:

      Does anyone else know what this means? Answers on a postcard please.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Obviously someone in CIG has a fine appreciation of irony. It takes a special level of incompetence to stand out in the slapstick comedy that is the CIG, definitely deserving of some recognition.

    I just wonder how the DPP can make a mess of case after case without anyone ever saying anything?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Another shining example of "The Triumph of Mediocrity".

  16. Ky1 says:

    Every beautiful gal has her day. Congrats Ingrid!  😉

  17. anonymous says:

    This ranks up there with the golden Apple award, the cayman cross of meritorious valour, (platinum), the order of the shiny pineapple and the other, self congratulatory, pumped up crap that seems to be shuffled around constantly.

    It would be sufficient for me to know that someone has just done their job to at least the required standard and put in a full day without any personal business conducted.

    They would then be exceptional and exceeded all expectations than is normally held.

    • Anonymous says:


      Another reward for INCOMPETENCE!  And we wonder why they can't win cases in court???

      They ALL (starting with Baine) need to be fired, stripped of their pension and forced to go back to school and get a decent education. Where does government find these people! under a rock?


      • Anonymous says:

        It's always ironic that posts berating a perceived lack of education are almost always full of grammatical and spelling errors.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yo-is that a question professor? If so, where’s the correct punctuation? Hmmm

  18. Anonymous says:

    Just another Caymanian Hero.  We get it.  Do you?

  19. Anonymous says:

    clearly no one is paying attention, not even the civil service union.

  20. marius voiculescu says:

    Fair enough, looks like the officer failed to secure the critical piece of evidence.  Definitely not a good thing.  However, the bigger question one ought to ask is why did the DPP continue its case against the two defendants when they ought to have known that without the missing piece of evidence they had no chance at conviction?  It's not like they didn't have 3 years to look at the case over and over again – apparently multiple prosecutors had touched this case…  Justice Quin is correct to question the officer's work, however he ought to have reserved his biggest criticism for the DPP.

    Marius Voiculescu

  21. Anonymous says:

    Wow CNS you have sunk to a new low… this is one case and there is not evidence that this officer made the mistakes mentioned in Court. and I dare say she is human. Of course no one at CNS or its bloggers have even made a mistake. Thanks DG for awarding this fine officer.

    • Anonymous says:

      What? This officer has been shown to have wasted court time and hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly let some criminals off scott free and had her competence questioned by the Grand Court THIS WEEK!  You don't think its appropriate to question her getting an award for excellence?

    • Anthony Montana says:

      Anyone can make a mistake… but not many people get awarded employee of the month after making a big one. One so big a judge comments on it and it makes the news. I think thats all anyone is saying.

      Maybe this award was sarcastic?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, people make mistakes but only the CS rewards you for them!

  22. Anonymous says:

    This is just so funny.  You couldn't make this stuff up.  Do the words 'Performance review' mean anything in the civil service?


  23. Big Whopper says:

    You can not make this stuff up….

  24. Confused says:

    What a joke!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Moral – in order to get anywhere in the CS all you need to do is screw up.

    • Anonymous says:

      And fast talk can blind the eye, confuse the brain, and capture the position.   

    • Anonymous says:

      1858, you are soooo right. Do you know how many BIG screw-ups have caused people to be "promoted" to another position or transferred to another department with a shiny, sparkling report card?? I alone can name 3 cases/persons.

  26. Anonymous says:

    CNS, thank you for pointing this out.  Franz needs to wake up out of his slumber. The bloke is as asleep as a grizzly bear in winter. I am discombefuddled.

    • Anonymous says:

      Franz?  Do something?  Other than suck up to the civil service union?  I don't think so!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is unfortunate that with so much that needs to be addressed within the Service that the Deputy Governor has chosen this particular award, civil servants participating in every walk-run and every dress down day (for every cause) as his pet projects. The latest is a survey on staff morale. News flash. Morale is down. We can tell him that for free. A ten-year strategic plan for the Service (so it is not constantly taken for a ride/misled every 4 years by politicians who get into office) is needed. Training and true succesion planning also need to occur. A real commitment to promote from within and a cease in hiring people from the outside is required as well. The Deputy Governor has allowed some of his Chief Officers and Heads of Departments to continue hiring and renewing contracts. There is no real effort to reduce the Service by natural attrition. When contracts are up for guest workers their contracts should not be renewed and certainly another job should not be found for them. There are Caymanians within the Service who have the experience in these jobs and have earned the qualifications; however, lack of foresight and will by the Deputy Governor keeps this from happening. Lip-service is paid to succession planning but nothing is ever done. It's an idea that is kicked around every four year period – much like the minimum wage 'chatta'. I am embarrassed for him, Caymanians and new Caymanians in the Service who see him do this lack luster performance every month. There are other true 'quick wins' within the Service but this is not one of them. There ARE professionals within the Service who are waiting for real leadership from the Deputy Governor. There are social issues within our island communities that need to be truly addressed that would mean true wins for everyone. This is not one of them.                

  27. Anonymous says:

    What a f****** mess! No wonder we can't win any cases. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Didn't you know our best officers are those people.  What a fxxxxxg mess.  Baines head must be soft and his brains rock, if he can't understand the window is broke in his showcase.  Replace it, and stop rewarding incompetence.  Get a bigger picture next time, as imcompetence grows.

  28. Gran Heffe says:

    And you all wonder why the DPP wont be replaced! This is absolute nonsense and goes to show that incompetence saturates the Government at all levels. There is no accountability on any level and to people of intellect this is a slap in the face. Public Funds wasted, cases lost, lawsuits, damning reviews by the courts and low and behold those involved get rewarded.

    I say – If the PPM Does not replace the DDP and her entire office VOTE THEM OUT! As this will only continue to contribute to a waste of precious public monies! the RCIPS Needs a total review by the Govenor as it has become a retreat for third world police with third world policing skills. I almost forgot – REDUCE THEIR BUDGET AND FORCE THEM TO TRIM THE WASTERS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those third world helpers and common labourers/police officers are the best officers, and their back grounds are checked out.  So why  are we fussing? Get the answer from the Commish.

    • Anonymous says: