A former K9 officer with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has asked the Grand Court to review a department decision last year that cost him his job.
According to documents seeking a judicial review hearing, Governor Stuart Jack’s office declined to investigate the circumstances which led to Police Constable Paul Dewing’s unemployment because it essentially fell outside the office’s legal powers to do so.
‘The decision not to renew Mr. Dewing’s contract for a further fixed term was not the result of any proceedings instituted to hear any charges for an offence against discipline, and as such, it falls outside the powers conferred to me,’ the Governor wrote in a 24 September letter.
In other words, ex-PC Dewing’s contract was simply not renewed after it expired. The Governor said that no disciplinary action was ever taken against Mr. Dewing with regard to the ending of his employment at RCIPS.
Court documents filed on behalf of the 16-year veteran officer imply the Governor’s statement is not true.
In a 3 March, 2008 meeting with Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon, Mr. Dewing said he was told that he was being ‘immediately discharged’ from the police service.
The decision, according to court records, was ‘due to (i) discipline issues raised by Inspector (David) Plunkett, and (ii) issues within two psychiatrists’ reports (Mr. Dewing had been requested by the RCIPS to undergo two psychiatric evaluations – both of which had revealed nothing abnormal).
‘Neither Inspector Plunkett’s ‘issues raised’ nor [a doctor’s] evaluation raised any merit for the institution of any disciplinary process against Mr. Dewing,’ the 23 December application for judicial review read.
Mr. Dewing was hospitalised in intensive care in March 2007 after he was hit by a car while out walking his dogs near Pedro Castle. He suffered serious head injuries and was only able to return to duty after months of rehabilitation.
His original contract with the RCIPS expired in October 2007, and had been continued as is common practice while Mr. Dewing went through the application process for a renewal. On 7 January, Mr. Dewing was informed he had been placed on ‘training duties’, which court records claim was a punishment.
On 28 February, 2008 Mr. Dewing filed a complaint against Inspector Plunkett with the RCIPS office of Complaints and Discipline. No official response was ever received, according to court records. Mr. Plunkett left the police service last year.
It was just a few days after the complaint was filed that Mr. Dewing met with Deputy Commissioner Dixon and was told that he was being ‘immediately discharged.’
Toward the end of March, three top ranking members of the RCIPS command, including Mr. Dixon and Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan were placed on required leave amid an investigation of criminal misconduct within the police service. None of the allegations initially investigated were related to Mr. Dewing’s case.
Mr. Dixon remains on required leave and has been charged with misconduct in a public office and doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice. Mr. Kernohan has since been fired from his job as commissioner but has not been charged with any crimes.
In his judicial review application, Mr. Dewing argues that Cayman Islands Police Law does not give any deputy police commissioner the power to fire an officer; that power is reserved for the commissioner alone.
In Mr. Kernohan’s absence, Mr. Dewing asked then-Acting Police Commissioner David George to review his case. According to the judicial review filing, Mr. George stated he had not seen ‘sufficient grounds to reverse the decision made by other officers in the RCIPS prior to his acting appointment.’
‘[Mr.] George failed to even consider Mr. Dewing’s application for a review under the Police Law despite [Mr.] Dixon’s lack of authority to discharge Mr. Dewing,’ the judicial review application read. ‘[Mr.] Dixon’s decision to discharge PC Dewing was utterly arbitrary and unreasonable.’
At press time, there had been no word as to whether the court had agreed to hear Mr. Dewing’s application for judicial review, which was filed by the law firm Mourant.
Mr. Dewing and his girlfriend have been charged with separate criminal offences in connection with a court room outburst which followed the acquittal of the driver who struck him in March 2007. Trial on that matter is expected to convene later this year. The criminal charges against the two were not filed until well after Mr. Dewing’s employment at the police service ended.