Complaints commissioner named

A former British police complaints commissioner will take over from John Epp as the Cayman Islands ombudsman.

Nicola Williams who will become Cayman’s second complaints commissioner, was until last year a commissioner with the Independent Police Complaints Commission for London and the South East in the UK.

A statement from the Office of the Governor released on Wednesday morning read: ‘With over eight years of experience successfully investigating, mediating and resolving complaints, [Ms Williams] will lead the Complaints Commissioner’s Office to new levels of service for the Cayman Islands.’

A criminal barrister and novelist, Ms Williams is expected to take over at the end of next month or the beginning of August.

Mr. Epp will join legal firm Conyers Dill & Pearman next month.

Mr. Epp announced in September that he would not accept a reappointment of complaints commissioner when his five-year term ended this year.

Scott Swing, the acting Complaints Commissioner while Mr. Epp is off island, said that Ms Williams would take on on-going cases once she begins her new role.

‘There are cases that have to be handed over as far as on-going investigations right now, and also some monitoring cases that will have to be conducted,’ he said.

Ms Williams visited the Cayman Islands and the Office of the Complaints Commissioner last month.

A Londoner of Guyanese descent, she has been listed three times as one of the most influential black people in the UK, in 1998, 2007 and 2008 and was winner of the Cosmopolitan Woman of Achievement Award.

Ms Williams worked as a barrister for almost 16 years in private practice where she specialised in criminal defence trials, personal injury cases, and civil actions against the police. She was also involved in three successful Commonwealth death penalty appeals before the Privy Council.

She was a member of the inaugural Independent Advisory Group to London’s Metropolitan Police and has taught courses on police misconduct and human rights in conjunction with the British Council.

She has a law degree from the University of the South Bank in London.

Ms Williams is also an author of crime fiction, and penned a crime thriller called Without Prejudice, which was published in the United States and the UK in 1997.

She was a member of the Virdi Inquiry panel, which found that the Metropolitan police had discriminated against an Asian police officer because of his race.

Since January 2008, she has been a member of the British Bar Council Equality and Diversity Committee

The statement from Governor Stuart Jack continued: ‘On behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands, I would like to express a warm welcome to Ms Nicola Williams.’