Details of a complaint filed with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office last year by the former leading members of a corruption and misconduct investigation in Cayman have now surfaced in the British press.
The complaint, first reported by the Caymanian Compass in November, was initially filed by the legal advisor for the former Operation Tempura investigative team – a group of current and retired officers from the UK Metropolitan Police force that were called to Cayman in 2007 to look into allegations of police misconduct.
According to the individual who filed the complaint with the UK foreign office, disbarred attorney Martin Polaine, it centred on the behaviour of some individuals who were involved in the Operation Tempura investigation.
“I can simply say that my complaint related to sections of the judiciary, to the Attorney General’s Chambers and the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office),” Mr. Polaine said in comments sent to the Compass last November.
A report Thursday in the Financial Times of London indicated that three Cayman Islands Grand Court judges; Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, Justice Alex Henderson and Justice Sir Peter Cresswell were named in the complaint filed by Mr. Polaine. Operation Tempura’s former Chief Investigating Officer Martin Bridger later signed onto the complaint as well.
Mr. Polaine said in November that he was dropping the complaint because he had “no confidence” in the process being used to investigate the matter. However, Mr. Bridger decided to press ahead with it, according to the Cayman Islands Governor’s Office.
Neither the governor nor Mr. Polaine agreed to release a full copy of the complaint to the Compass, citing the on-going review. The Financial Times report indicated that the publication had seen a copy of the document.
According to the FT, the complaint generally focused on certain behaviours of the three judges, all of whom had some connection to Operation Tempura.
In April 2008, Chief Justice Smellie denied search warrants for the UK investigative team based on what he termed a lack of evidence; later in the same year Justice Henderson was arrested by Operation Tempura investigators – an arrest that Sir Peter – a visiting judge at the time – ruled was wrongful and involved “the gravest abuse of process” by investigators.
The Compass is not reporting the specific allegations against each justice as set down by the Financial Times for legal reasons. On Thursday, Mr. Polaine again refused to release a copy of the complaint and instead sent the following statement:
“I am anxious that those in Cayman should be given the full picture of what took place and what brought about the end of the investigation. I have always hoped that I, and the investigators, would be judged on the facts in their entirety. Sadly, that has never happened. There is so much more that has never been put in the public domain.”
The Cayman Islands Governor’s Office also refused again to release the complaint on Thursday. A final report on the matter was received by the office on 21 December.
“The governor recognises the importance of bringing this matter to a conclusion as soon as possible,” a statement sent from the governor’s office Thursday read. “The governor is now in the process of actively considering it, following which he will decide what further action, if any, should be taken.”
Another matter referred to in the complaint, according to the Financial Times, concerned a number of allegations made to the UK investigative group in Cayman that generally involved corruption and misconduct within the RCIPS. Some 70 complaints that were separate from the initial focus of Operation Tempura were evaluated by the UK officers between 2008 and 2009 here in Cayman.
In November 2009, Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines said that all evidence collected by the former Operation Tempura investigators was being kept under lock and key in a safe location.
At the time, Mr. Baines acknowledged that those in the community who brought complaints to the original UK Metropolitan Police investigating team may initially have had concerns about RCIPS handling those investigations. However, he said those concerns will be addressed by bringing in a number of experienced police detectives from foreign jurisdictions to handle the cases.
Those officers have since been brought in to form an anti-corruption unit at the police service. However, no update has ever been provided on investigations related to the information gathered by Operation Tempura.
The governor’s office indicated Thursday that investigations were continuing into some of the 70 complaints and were mainly being handled by the police anti-corruption unit and the RCIPS cold case squad.