Cases against top cops ‘different’

The lawman leading the investigation into alleged misconduct at the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has sought to explain the different ways cases against three top officers involved in the probe have been handled.

Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger acknowledged concerns in the community after Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and Chief Superintendent John Jones, who are both originally from the UK, were allowed to leave the island for personal reasons.

Meanwhile, Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon and former RCIPS Inspector Burmon Scott have been arrested, had their passports taken and cannot travel outside the islands while the investigation continues. Mr. Dixon and Mr. Scott are Caymanian.

The case against Mr. Dixon and Mr. Scott was presented to the attorney general’s office last week for review.

Mr. Bridger said the case against Mr. Dixon and Mr. Scott has progressed to a more advanced stage than the investigation involving Mr. Jones and Mr. Kernohan.

‘In respect to Mr. Scott and Mr. Dixon, they’ve been arrested, they’ve been questioned at the police station,’ Mr. Bridger said. ‘When they were arrested, we are entitled under the law to impose certain conditions that we feel necessary to secure their appearance, either back to the police station for further questioning or…at court, if that’s the decision that’s made.

‘We are not at that stage with Kernohan and Jones.’

The Caymanian Compass reported last month that both UK officers were allowed to leave the island; Mr. Kernohan for a family matter, Mr. Jones for a previously planned vacation. Commissioner Kernohan’s return has not been scheduled. Mr. Jones is expected to return to the island in mid-July.

‘I expect both of them to come back to the island and to be questioned by me,’ Mr. Bridger said.

Although he has declined to go into specifics, Mr. Bridger has previously said the matter involving Mr. Kernohan and Mr. Jones has to do with their roles in the events which led up to an unauthorised entry at the office of Cayman Net News publisher Desmond Seales on 3 September, 2007. It’s believed that Mr. Bridger’s team of officers is also looking into Mr. Dixon’s potential involvement in that matter.

However, Mr. Dixon and Mr. Scott’s 15 May arrest came in relation to an entirely separate case, Mr. Bridger said. He has declined on many occasions to discuss the nature of the latter investigation.

‘If there’s the suggestion out there that there’s preferential treatment being given…(that) we’re dealing with Caymanian people differently, you couldn’t be further from the truth,’ he said.

No charges have been filed against any of the three RCIPS commanders or against Mr. Scott.

A decision on whether charges will come against Mr. Dixon and Mr. Scott now rests with the Attorney General’s office. Mr. Bridger said he’s not sure what will happen, and he urged the public not to jump to any conclusions.

However, he also hinted that Mr. Dixon might face other troubles.

‘There is the potential that if (the case against Mr. Dixon) doesn’t breach the criminal threshold test, there could be the potential…that there could be consideration for disciplinary action,’ Mr. Bridger said.

Mr. Bridger also noted that just because the RCIPS commanders are the subject of a lengthy investigation doesn’t mean they’ll never return to the department.

‘Mr. (Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony) Ennis was under investigation…but it proved to be the case that there was no evidence against Mr. Ennis,’ he said.

The allegations against Mr. Ennis were what led to the arrival of UK Metropolitan Police officers here in September 2007. Mr. Ennis was accused of engaging in a corrupt relationship with Net News publisher Desmond Seales in which the two allegedly shared confidential police information.

That case was proved false and the man who police said made the initial allegations, ex-Net News corporate affairs manager Lyndon Martin, has been charged with making false statements to a police officer.

Mr. Bridger said since then, other matters regarding what happened at Net News have come to light and resulted in the temporary removal of Mr. Kernohan, Mr. Dixon and Mr. Jones.

The UK lawman said, so far, in all matters his team has received the cooperation of those involved and doesn’t expect that to change.

‘There has been absolutely no hindrance,’ Mr. Bridger said. ‘If, at all, there was even the suggestion, and there’s not, that anyone was trying to interfere…I will not be part of an investigation that doesn’t let me go where I need to go.’

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