A key witness in the upcoming trial of former Cayman Islands lawmaker Lyndon Martin has indicated that he is likely to return to the Islands ahead of the trial’s start date.
Crown witness John Evans ‘fled Cayman’ — to use his own words — last summer after becoming concerned about certain press reports that he feared could lead to a backlash against him in the community.
“I’m prepared to return subject to guarantees from the appropriate people, if necessary the Governor himself, that steps will be taken to ensure my safety,” Mr. Evans said in an e-mail this week to the Caymanian Compass.
Attempts to hold a trial for Mr. Martin earlier this year fell apart due to a number of factors; one of them being that Mr. Evans absolutely refused to return to Cayman.
“I recognise that my presence is essential to Lyndon Martin getting a fair trial,” he said this week. “It is my opinion that our former employer has gone to great lengths to prejudice the judicial process.”
Mr. Martin and Mr. Evans are former journalists at Cayman Net News, and found themselves at the centre of controversy in early 2008 when Mr. Martin was arrested at his employer’s offices.
The former Sister Islands MLA faced a slew of charges which have since been whittled to just two: falsely accusing another person of a crime, and doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice.
According to court documents, it was Mr. Martin’s claims, supported by Mr. Evans, which led Royal Cayman Islands Police to probe allegations of a corrupt relationship between Net News publisher Desmond Seales and Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis.
Those claims against Mr. Seales and Mr. Ennis were investigated by officers from the UK’s Metropolitan Police force, who later indicated they were “nonsense.”
Mr. Evans has never been arrested or charged with any crimes in connection with the Net News probe. However, Mr. Seales has accused him on different occasions of illegally entering the publisher’s office; an allegation Mr. Evans denies.
Met team officers indicated the dispute between the publisher and former employee Mr. Evans was a personal one in which they were not likely to become involved.
Other than suspended Deputy Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon, Mr. Martin is the only individual to have actually been charged in connection with an investigation into alleged police misconduct that began here in September 2007.