Fire Services review delayed

An internal investigation into the Fire Services Department following a sexual assault on a female fire officer by a male colleague has been put on hold until July.

Plans to hold an investigation into the complaints made by the victim and how those complaints were handled by her superiors have been delayed while the department awaits court transcripts of the case, Deputy Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks said.

Cayman Brac fireman Dorian Hunter was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty in Grand Court of four counts of indecent assault of a female colleague between November and December 2006.

‘We have retained the services of a private sector entity to conduct the review,’ Mr. Ebanks said. ‘It has not been able to commence because they have not been able to get transcripts from the court, so we are expecting those in early summer.’

Mr. Ebanks said an appeal of the case was expected in July, and the transcripts of the original hearing wereexpected to be received prior to that.

Hunter’s attorney, John Furniss, said an appeal had been filed, but he did not know when it would be heard.

When sentencing the 26-year-old fireman on 2 February, Grand Court Justice Charles Quin said other officers within the Fire Services Department also subjected the woman to humiliating and degrading treatment at the Brac station, which was described during the trial as a ‘very unpleasant place for women to work’.

Before police began their investigation of the case, the Fire Services Department had been in the process of carrying out an internal inquiry into the victim’s complaints. That inquiry was stopped once the police investigation was underway.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the female fire officer, who has since quit her job, said: ‘The other officers at the fire station treated me as an outcast; they isolated me from a lot of interaction with them. The fire officers had no respect for me and they did not hide their feelings.’

Mr. Ebanks had said in February that the review was expected to be underway within two weeks, but the subsequent delay in acquiring the court transcripts meant a new start date for the inquiry had to be set.