Ex-cop’s arrest ‘unlawful’

Claim made in effort to settle lawsuit

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Information has come to light for
the first time indicating the Cayman Islands government’s admission that the
May 2008 arrest of retired Royal Cayman Islands Police Inspector Burmon Scott
was unlawful.

Mr. Scott was one of two men
arrested on 15 May, 2008, in connection with the ill-fated Operation Tempura
corruption investigation; the other was now-suspended RCIPS Deputy Commissioner
Rudolph Dixon. 

The revelation concerning Mr. Scott
comes in a letter sent on 7 October, 2009, to Mr. Scott’s attorney. It was sent
from the Legal Department of the Cayman Islands government. The communication
is in reference to a May 2009 lawsuit filed on Mr. Scott’s behalf against the
government, as well an officer from the former Operation Tempura team, former
Acting RCIPS Commissioner James Smith, and Cayman Islands Attorney General
Samuel Bulgin.

“In light of the recent definitive
judicial pronouncement on the arrestability of the common law offence of
misconduct in a public office, the government does not dispute that Mr. Scott’s
arrest was unlawful,” the correspondence, signed only ‘Attorney General’s
Chambers’, states.

The ‘judicial pronouncement’ refers
to a previous challenge filed over the arrest of Grand Court Justice Alex Henderson
– also in connection with Operation Tempura – in which it was determined that
Mr. Henderson was wrongfully arrested by UK Metropolitan Police officers on
‘suspicion of misconduct in a public office’.

In ruling that Mr. Henderson’s
arrest was unlawful, then-visiting Justice Sir Peter Cresswell determined that
the police had arrested a serving judge for an offence that was not an
arrestable offence and had invoked “the gravest abuse of process” in doing so.
Operation Tempura officials were later required to issue a public apology to
Justice Henderson.

Mr. Henderson received $1.275
million in damages from a lawsuit following the arrest. That amount was paid by
the Cayman Islands government. 

Mr. Scott sued the government last
year following news of Justice Henderson’s settlement. In his lawsuit, Mr.
Scott claimed false arrest and asked that he receive compensation for damage to
his reputation and loss of earnings.

In the 7 October, 2009, letter, an
offer of £6,000 (estimated to equal CI$7,755.18 at the time) was made for the
“full and final settlement” of Mr. Scott’s claim. The settlement offer was not
inclusive of attorney’s fees.

“The defendants [meaning the government
and the previously named individuals in Mr. Scott’s lawsuit] would hope to see
the early (out of court) settlement of this matter,” the letter stated. “There
are, however, a number of other allegations made (regarding the treatment meted
out to Mr. Scott and the injuries, damages and loss which he claims to have
suffered as a result of the arrest) with which we join/issue deny.” 

“We believe that this is a
reasonable offer of settlement in all the circumstances,” the 7 October, 2009,
letter states.

Mr. Scott did not believe the same
when contacted for comment Wednesday by the Caymanian Compass.

“I spent almost two days in jail,”
Mr. Scott said of his May 2009 arrest. “Until now, nothing has been given to
me. It was an insult to offer me $7,000.”

Details of his arrest

In previous statements to the
Caymanian Compass, made in September 2008, Mr. Scott recounted his ordeal.

The 28–year veteran inspector, who
retired from the RCIPS in 2006, said he was arrested at his office at the
Walkers Road Vehicle Licensing Department around 10.30am on 15 May, 2008. Mr.
Scott said he was informed of the reasons for his arrest and then taken to
George Town Police Station. He remained in police custody until Friday evening,
some 31 hours later.

“I will never forget how some of my
(former) police co–workers ignored me and pretended that they didn’t know who I
was,” Mr. Scott said during the 2008 interview. “I remember putting my hand out
to shake the hand of a good friend of mine and he pulled his hand away, as if he
didn’t want the English officers (to) see him shake my hand.

“I felt embarrassed at work when I
had to face the public on my job, knowing that everyone by now had read the
news,” Mr. Scott said. “I get the impression from the looks on some people’s
faces that they don’t believe that I was only arrested for obeying orders from
the deputy commissioner.”

The initial allegation made against
Mr. Scott was that he had released a drink driving suspect on the orders of Mr.
Dixon in 2004. However, Mr. Scott was never charged for the offence. Mr. Dixon
was charged in connection with that case but was found not guilty during a 2009
jury trial.

Mr. Dixon is still on suspension
and is receiving full pay while awaiting a decision on disciplinary action from
the RCIPS. According to Governor Duncan Taylor’s office, no decision had been
reached on that disciplinary matter as of Tuesday.

It was unclear at press time what
stage Mr. Scott’s lawsuit had reached.

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Mr. Scott
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2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s about time that good cops like Burmon Scott are cleared of the totally unjust treatment by the RCIP and operation Tempura. I hope he gets a million!!

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  2. Our Cop must be compensated for the damages done to his character including loss of employment. He must be compensated FULLY he deserves as much as Judge Henderson.
    Give him $2million dollars. Thats not much compared to what he and his family has suffered.

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