Issue is what Martin believed, defence says

Source of firearms story clarified

The issue in the trial of Lyndon Martin is not whether Deputy Commissioner of Police Anthony Ennis was leaking sensitive material to the publisher of Cayman Net News, Martin’s lead counsel told the jury on Tuesday.

‘The evidence now available indicates that he was not,’ Trevor Burke QC conceded. Instead, he suggested, the only issue in the case is what Lyndon Martin genuinely believed.

Mr. Burke made his comments after lead prosecutor Andrew Radcliffe QC concluded his opening remarks and before any evidence was called.

Martin is accused of falsely alleging that Mr. Ennis had misconducted himself in public office by supplying the publisher of Cayman Net News with sensitive police material.

Mr. Radcliffe had referred to several items of information Martin said had come from Mr. Ennis, but investigation later showed that the information came from other sources.

Mr. Burke told Justice Roy Anderson that he wished to assist the jury by making the following concessions: It was not necessary for the jury in this case to determine whether Mr. Ennis was the mole, the source of the stories.

‘The evidence now available indicates that he was not,’ Mr. Burke conceded. ‘It is equally not necessary for the jury to determine who in fact was the source, if there was a source. The sole issue that the jury will need to resolve is: When Lyndon Martin made these complaints and allegations in August 2007, did he genuinely believe Ennis to be the source?’

The Crown’s first witness was Police Public Relations Officer Deborah Denis. She told the court she took notes at a meeting of senior police officers, known as the Gold Command, on Friday, 13 July 2007.

The following Monday, 16 July, she intended to e-mail the minutes of the meeting to the participants, but accidentally sent them to another list of recipients that included the media.

She went immediately to the office of then-Commissioner Stuart Kernohan and told him what had happened. She then phoned all the media houses and told them the e-mail should be disregarded.

Ms Denis said she offered to resign, but the Commissioner told her she didn’t have to – he said everybody made mistakes.

Questioned by Mr. Burke, she agreed that one of the items in the Gold Command minutes had to do with Mr. Ennis raising the issue of visiting judge Dale Sanderson having so many firearms in his room that the cleaner had complained to management.

Ms Denis agreed that Mr Ennis had raised the matter as a potential problem for police, but Net News had already made the matter public by publishing a letter from Hoyt T. C. Williams the day before the Gold Command meeting.

The action taken at the Gold Command meeting was having a senior officer deal with it in a way that would include making a check regarding the security of the firearms.

Mr. Burke asked her if another reporter – not Lyndon Martin – had told her his source for a story was Anthony Ennis. She said yes. She did not believe or disbelieve, but she did tell Mr. Kernohan. That was in August 2007.

The Crown’s second witness was Paul Charles who told the court he has worked at Net News since October 2005, starting as a staff writer and moving to desk editor.

Asked about a letter published in Net News that had been critical of the judiciary, Mr. Charles said he never knew who wrote it.

Asked where publisher Desmond Seales kept his private and confidential material, he said he did not know.

He was also asked about an article written by reporter John Evans. Mr. Evans began giving his evidence late Tuesday, so the testimony on that topic will be combined in a future Caymanian Compass story.