Today’s Editorial for December 30: Apology to public needed

Last week, Acting Commissioner of Police James Smith offered an apology in Grand Court to Justice Alexander Henderson for the distress caused him by his unlawful arrest in September by members of the UK Metropolitan Police.

It was a shame Mr. Henderson was not present in the courtroom to hear Mr. Smith’s apology.

It was also a shame Mr. Smith gave the apology since he had nothing to do with Mr. Henderson’s arrest and he was not even on the island when it took place. Mr. Smith did extend the apology from head of the Special Police Investigation Team Martin Bridger and the arresting officer Special Constable Richard Coy, but that is not the same as a personal apology.

As we have stated before, we feel Governor Stuart Jack owes this country an explanation about many things concerning the UK Met’s investigation into possible crimes perpetrated by those in Cayman’s judiciary and the Royal Cayman Islands Police. We understand Mr. Jack will receive a report from the head of the Special Police Investigation Team Martin Bridger in January and hopefully the governor will advise the Caymanian public of its findings. Millions of dollars and some 16 months later, the people of this country deserve to know if there was a point to all of this and whether they got value for money in funding this investigation.

In the meantime, the public also deserves an apology from either Mr. Jack or Mr. Bridger – or both them – for Mr. Henderson’s unlawful arrest.

This ill-advised and unlawful arrest undermined Cayman’s judiciary, its Justice of the Peace system and the reputation of the Cayman Islands in general. There is no way of knowing how many potential investors might have taken their money to other jurisdictions because they were uneasy dealing with a place where a top judge was arrested for allegedly using his influence as a member of the judiciary improperly.

Beyond that, the arrest of someone as important as a Grand Court Justice – especially coming after the suspensions of three top police officers – upset and disturbed members of the public.

In a year when the people of this country have also had to deal with a Commission of Enquiry into the actions of one of its political leaders, the hardships of an economic downturn, and the shock and heartache of more murders than have ever occurred here before in any one year, an unlawful arrest of one of our Grand Court judges was a very unwelcome occurrence.

Mr. Henderson will now be justly compensated – with taxpayers’ money – for his legal costs and undoubtedly for damages resulting from the unlawful arrest. It would seem the public should at least be entitled to an apology for such costly actions by those responsible for them.

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