Andrew Radcliffe QC told a Grand Court jury on Monday that allegations Lyndon Martin had made against Deputy Commissioner of Police Anthony Ennis were false and invented.
Mr. Ennis did not supply sensitive police information to the publisher of Cayman Net News as Martin claimed, the Crown’s lead counsel said in explaining charges against Martin.
The first charge alleges that, with intent he did a series of acts which had the tendency to pervert the course of public justice. Details are that he falsely alleged that Anthony Ennis had ‘wilfully misconducted himself in a public office, namely that of Deputy Commissioner of Police’ by supplying Desmond Seales with confidential and/or sensitive police material and/or informing Desmond Seales that other senior police offers in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service had behaved discreditably in their personal and professional lives.
The second charge is falsely accusing Mr. Ennis of a crime, namely misconduct in public office. Mr. Radcliffe said the two charges were alternatives.
He described Martin as a ‘well-known person and personality’ who served as MLA for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman 2000-2005 and then moved into journalism in February 2007.
In a period between July and September that year, he began to make allegations, effectively suggesting that Mr. Ennis and Mr. Seales were involved together in a corrupt relationship whereby Mr. Ennis would supply highly sensitive information and Mr. Seales would publish it.
Coming from a former member of Parliament, these allegations were taken seriously, Mr. Radcliffe said. After Martin repeated them to senior officers, orally and in writing, then-Commissioner of Police Stuart Kernohan took the obvious step of having police come from overseas to investigate. The request was made through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, officers from the UK arrived and Operation Tempura was launched.
Mr. Radcliffe acknowledged that almost everybody is likely to be aware of Tempura and what has happened since.
Mr. Ennis was originally suspected of being in a corrupt relationship, but has since been cleared.
The story began after a meeting on 13 July 2007 of senior police officers known as the Gold Command, Mr. Radcliffe related. The minutes of that meeting were accidentally sent to the media.
Within a few days Martin raised the notion of corrupt relationship. Later he alleged to a colleague that Mr. Ennis provided Gold Command minutes to Mr. Seales and told him about drug operations and firearms being withdrawn from police officers. Martin said the two men met regularly and Mr. Seales referred to Mr. Ennis as ‘my boy’.
None of the allegations had a shred of truth to them nor could Martin possibly think they had. They were malicious. They were lies, Mr. Radcliffe told the jury.
Martin then took his allegations to Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon, who reported them to Mr. Kernohan.
Pressed to provide evidence, Martin said there was a red binder in Mr. Seales’ office containing e-mails from Mr. Ennis. None was found. ‘It had been made up to give a little colour to what he was saying,’ Mr. Radcliffe told jurors.
Martin said he had seen minutes of 12 Gold Command meetings that Mr. Seales had forwarded to him. They were from a hotmail or yahoo account with the name Ennis and a number.
‘This was all complete nonsense, of course,’ Mr. Radcliffe commented.
Martin described the leaks as primarily an orchestrated slander campaign. He said information was leaked by Mr Ennis to get rid of Mr. Kernohan and Mr. Dixon so that Mr. Ennis would be appointed commissioner. But jurors would hear that Mr. Ennis had no ambition or desire to be commissioner.
Mr. Radcliffe said they might hear that Mr. Seales encouraged the belief that Mr. Ennis was his source. Whether that was right or not did not detract from the allegations against Martin – because when he said there was a large number of e-mails between the two men, that was a lie and something Martin knew was untrue.
Mr. Radcliffe said Martin had his own agenda for wanting to be at Net News. He had said Mr. Seales was attacking him. Martin then quoted from the book The Art of War: ‘The best way to defeat your enemy is to join his camp.’
Mr. Radcliffe was scheduled to continue his opening on Tuesday morning.
Martin is defended by Trevor Burke QC and Attorney Ben Tonner. Trial judge is Justice Roy Anderson.