Burmon Scott: ‘I was just following orders’

Retired police inspector Burmon Rex Scott told a Grand Court jury on Wednesday that he was just following orders on the night of 7 April 2004 when he released Rudy Evans from custody after he had been brought in on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Mr. Scott said the order came from Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon, whom he had contacted by phone that night at Mr. Evans’ request.

A witness for the Crown, Mr. Scott was giving evidence in Dixon’s trial on charges of misconduct in a public office and doing acts tending; alternatively intending to pervert the course of public justice.

Dixon is accused of falsely informing then-Inspector Scott that there had been a recent court case in which prosecution for a DUI charge had failed because it involved a police officer in plain clothes.

The unlawful conduct complained of is that Dixon instructed Mr. Scott to release Mr. Evans from lawful custody after his arrest and he further instructed Mr. Scott not to proceed with any investigation related to the incident.

The situation arose after Mr. Evans was followed home by Graham Summers, an off-duty officer who phoned 911 and asked for uniformed officers to attend. Mr. Summers has already told the court he did not know the driver, but the uniformed officers seemed uncomfortable. He then learned that Mr. Evans was a former deputy commissioner of police.

Mr. Summers said uniformed officers did take Mr. Evans to the George Town Police Station. He said he contacted Mr. Scott and told him who would be coming in.

Questioned by Andrew Radcliffe for the prosecution, and then by Defence Attorney Jonathan Rose, Mr. Scott said he was also acting as duty sergeant that night. One of the first things he did after speaking with Mr. Summers was turn on the breathalyser.

He said Constable Boxwell arrested Mr. Evans at the station, after which Mr. Scott read Mr. Evans his rights and started to enter particulars in the custody record such as name, age, date of birth and being told of his right to an attorney.

He offered Mr. Evans the opportunity to make a phone call and Mr. Evans asked to speak with Dixon. Mr. Scott dialled the number, explained the situation and turned the phone over to Mr. Evans.

Mr. Scott said he heard Mr. Evans tell Dixon that he was being followed by an English officer and he was trying to seat his granddaughter in the passenger seat. In trying to get her seated, his truck made a few swerves and that was probably why the English officer thought he was drinking.

Mr. Scott said he was ‘just getting up from my desk to escort him’ to the breathalyser machine when Mr. Evans made his request to speak to Dixon. After that conversation, Mr. Evans handed the phone back to him. That was when he got his instructions.

Mr. Scott said he did not know what happened to the custody record. Asked if it ever existed, he replied that he had filled it out and endorsed it with the instructions given him by Dixon.

He thought it would have been better for Mr. Evans to ‘go through the system’, but maintained he had acted under instructions from Dixon because ‘I wasn’t trained to argue with my deputy commissioner.’

Asked about the pressure he was put under by officers of Operation Tempura – the team investigating corruption allegations — Mr. Scott acknowledged that he had been arrested and put in jail for two days. He then decided to be a witness against Dixon.

‘If I changed my story they would reconsider bringing charges against me.’

Mr. Scott maintained his story was the truth.

He also agreed he was suing the state, saying he wanted an apology; he wanted to receive ‘what I should receive for false arrest.’