Trial began on Monday for suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police Rudolph Dixon.
He faces charges of misconduct in a public office and doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of public justice.
The charges are alternatives, based on the same set of allegations. They arise from an incident that occurred on the night of 7 April 2004 after retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Rudy Evans was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Dixon is accused of falsely informing Inspector Burmon Scott that legal precedent existed which meant that the potential prosecution of Mr. Evans for a criminal offence related to driving under the influence could not succeed.
The unlawful conduct complained of is that Dixon instructed Mr. Scott to release Mr. Evans from lawful custody after his arrest and he instructed Mr. Scott not to proceed further with any investigation related to the incident.
Justice Charles Quin is hearing the matter with a jury of three men and four women.
The first witness was Graham Summers, a police officer from the UK who served in Cayman 2001-2004. He said he was off-duty when he was driving behind a vehicle that was being driven extremely erratically. He was even more concerned because a child was hanging out of the passenger window.
He phoned 911 and asked for uniformed officers to attend. The 911 tape was played for the court to hear.
Mr. Summers said he followed the vehicle to a residence where it came to a stop. He spoke to the driver and then uniformed officers came to the scene. He told them of his observations. They did not have a roadside breath test machine, so they called for a traffic unit.
He said he did not know the driver, but the officers seemed uncomfortable. He then learned the driver was Mr. Evans.
Questioned by Andrew Radcliffe QC, who is conducting the prosecution, Mr. Summers said Mr. Evans failed twice to perform the breath test procedure properly.
Cross-examined by Defence Attorney Jonathan Rose, he said the officer operating the machine had reset it for a second attempt and then advised that the machine was malfunctioning.
Mr. Summers said the officers did take Mr. Evans down to the George Town Police Station. He said he contacted Mr. Scott, the inspector on duty, and told him who would be coming in.
Afterwards, he said Dixon told him that Mr. Evans had been released on the grounds that there was a ‘stated case’ involving an officer in plain clothes and a failed DUI prosecution.
Mr. Summers said he tried to explain that was not relevant because he was not the one who had made the arrest – one of the uniformed officers had done that. He asked for details but did not receive any.
He left Cayman in June 2004. In January 2008 he was contacted by officers who interviewed him about the incident.
Mr. Radcliffe, in opening his case to the jury, identified those officers as part of the Operation Tempura team.
Just about everyone in Cayman has heard of Operation Tempura by now, he acknowledged, and most people have a view of it. ‘But bear in mind, please, whatever you have read or heard you will not have heard all the facts. You need to put this case in its proper context.’
He said citizens are entitled to know that when they come into contact with the police they will be dealt with fairly, impartially and the same as everyone else from the highest to the lowest in the land.