Lawyer questions legality of arrests for harbouring

Petitions for commission of enquiry

A petition calling for the
establishment of a commission of enquiry into the legality of arresting people
for harbouring a fugitive has been made to the governor by attorney Peter
Polack and supported by North Side MLA Ezzard Miller.

There is currently no such offence
in the Penal Code.

According to Police Commissioner
David Baines, existing language covers the act of harbouring a fugitive.
However, he conceded that the wording may be different.

“What we do have is a description
of behaviour that constitutes a breach of legislation,” he said.

Mr. Polack said that in a recent
case in which he was involved, an individual was arrested for the offence,
which was noted as the sole reason for arrest on the record of custody. He
added that the Legal Department, in responding to his queries, stated, “The
note on the custody record through inadvertence does not reflect the true
reason for arrest, which we consider to be a mere irregularity. The note which
is reflected in the custody record is not what determines the lawfulness of the
arrest.”

Mr. Polack said, “The deprivation
of liberty of the subject is no mere irregularity.” He contends that it is
illegal to arrest someone for an imaginary offence.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police, in
response to a Freedom of Information request, confirmed five cases of arrest
over the past five years for this offence, but Mr. Polack said he believes
there are many more.

In a letter to Governor Duncan
Taylor, Mr. Polack said, “I hereby petition for the establishment of a
commission of enquiry into this scandalous and illegal practice by organs of
state security. I also confirm the support of Ezzard Miller for this petition.”

Mr. Miller could not be reached for
comment.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. We have had enough of this playful nonsense by ‘lawyers’ who have nothing better to do. Go back to College and write yourself silly.

    Editor’s Note: This comment had to be edited for content. We ask posters to please not make defamatory statements about individuals in their comments.

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  2. The loss of liberty should not be taken lightly. If persons are being incarcerated unlawfully then this is a major breach by the police and a massive violation of individual rights – the police are there to uphold the law, not to break it or even worse create their own laws. Public trust in the police service is paramount to their successful operation within the community – acts of illegal imprisonment smack of a police state. Don’t dismiss it as a minor hiccup in the system!

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  3. Since we don’t have such a law, is it not time to get one in place with proper safe guards? We know there is a great desire in Cayman to protect friends and family even when we know they are guilty and then take great delight in blaming the RCIP of incompetence.

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