Witness vows not to return

A Crown witness who fled the Cayman Islands last year vowing never to return for fear of persecution has now been summonsed to appear in the upcoming trial of an ex-lawmaker.

Former Cayman Net News employee John Evans received a summons dated 12 January from the Grand Court requesting his appearance in former MLA Lyndon Martin’s trial

The summons, a copy of which has been obtained by the Caymanian Compass, stated: “should you fail to appear a warrant for your arrest will be issued.”

On Monday, Mr. Evans reasserted his intention to stay in the United Kingdom.

“The legal advice I have states that the summons (or any warrants issued for non-attendance) are only valid within the jurisdiction of the Cayman Islands,” he wrote in an e-mail to the independent police investigating team that is handling the case.

It is unknown what power, if any, Cayman Islands authorities would have to force Mr. Evans to return to the jurisdiction.

In October, Mr. Evans sent an e-mail to the Compass indicating he would not be returning to appear in the court proceedings against Mr. Martin and gave his reasons for that decision.

“The persistent and unrelenting personal attacks on me in the pages of the Cayman Net News represent a blatant example of ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’ (as defined under the European Convention on Human Rights), which is within the power of the Cayman Islands authorities to stop,” Mr. Evans wrote in the email. “It is clear in this instance that pleas for action in this area have been deliberately obstructed.”

Cayman Net News wrote a number of editorials referring to Mr. Evans in an accusatory way, saying, among other things, that he was an acknowledged liar according to the Chief Justice; that his going into Mr. Seales’ office amounted to illegal entry; and that Mr. Evans intended to steal confidential information.

Mr. Evans has admitted to entering Mr. Seales’ personal office on the evening of 3 September, 2007, but was never arrested or charged with a crime. He said he took nothing from Mr. Seales’ office during the search and entered the room through a “wide open door.”

Court documents first reported by the Caymanian Compass revealed that Mr. Evans had searched the office in conjunction with requests of former Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and RCIPS Chief Superintendent John Jones.

According to court records, Mr. Evans entered the office searching for specific evidence of a corrupt relationship between Mr. Seales and Deputy RCIPS Commissioner Anthony Ennis.

The criminal case against Mr. Martin is set to go to court on 23 March.

Mr. Martin is charged with doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice and also with falsely accusing another person of a crime. Other charges filed against Mr. Martin previously have been dropped.

Investigators have said that Mr. Evans is a key Crown witness in the case against Mr. Martin.

Mr. Martin alleged that Mr. Seales and Mr. Ennis had exchanged confidential police information which, if known, could have jeopardised RCIPS operations and even placed officers in danger. However, investigators later said those allegations had been proved false.

It was unknown whether Messrs. Kernohan or Jones would be summonsed for Mr. Martin’s trial. Mr. Kernohan also resides in the UK, while Mr. Jones still lives in Cayman.

The UK Met team’s Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger has previously said he was investigating both Mr. Kernohan and Mr. Jones in connection with the 3 September, 2007, entry but no charges have been filed against either man and neither has been arrested.

If Mr. Evans or Mr. Kernohan failed to appear after being summonsed and warrants were issued for their arrest, it’s still not clear if they could be forced to return to Cayman.

If either man’s attorneys considered it impossible for them to receive a fair trial in the Cayman Islands, it’s possible human rights conventions could allow both to remain in the UK.