Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines has “categorically refuted” allegations that he “killed off” a complaint related to the infamous Operation Tempura corruption investigation filed by a former Crown witness in 2009.
Former prosecution witness John Evans, who accused two senior officers in the Operation Tempura probe of essentially failing to do their jobs, was notified in February that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service had closed his complaint due to the fact that the two senior officers were no longer members of the RCIPS and “have long since left the jurisdiction”.
In correspondence with UK MP Elizabeth Truss’ office obtained by the Caymanian Compass, Governor Duncan Taylor’s office maintains that the RCIPS decision in the matter was the correct one. The governor did apologise on behalf of the police service for not explaining the 17-month delay in handling the complaint Mr. Evans made to the police Professional Standards Unit.
“The effect of [the complaint closure]…is that the former RCIPS special constables are no longer amenable to the processes of the RCIPS for the purpose of a disciplinary complaint,” the letter from the governor’s office read.
Governor Taylor’s office said Mr. Evans had “implied” in correspondence with MP Truss’ office that his 2009 complaint against the Operation Tempura officers had been “killed off” by Mr. Baines.
“Mr. Baines…categorically refutes the allegations that he ‘killed off’ Mr. Evans’ complaint,” the governor’s letter states. The governor’s correspondence also indicated that Mr. Baines had not been a prior associate of Operation Tempura’s former Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger or it’s one-time legal adviser Martin Polaine.
“That suggestion, [Mr. Baines] said, is a malicious, unfounded and untrue accusation,” Governor Taylor’s office indicated.
Operation Tempura was a two-year probe of alleged misconduct within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service that ended up spreading into the local judiciary. No criminal convictions resulted from two trials – one of a former Legislative Assembly member and another that involved a still-suspended deputy police commissioner. In addition, decisions by investigators that led to the wrongful arrest of a sitting Cayman Islands Grand Court judge ended up costing the country $1.275 million in a lawsuit settlement.
Mr. Evans complaint, however, dealt with issues of criminality he said Operation Tempura commanders were blatantly ignoring.
“[Chief Investigating Officer] Martin Bridger and [Inspector] Richard Coy…received details of alleged criminal activities but, because of personal involvement with the subject of those allegations…failed to either investigate the allegations or pass them on to another officer,” the 2009 complaint filed by Mr. Evans read.
The subject of Mr. Evans’ claims, newspaper publisher Desmond Seales, died last July. The Compass has never reported the specific nature of Mr. Evans’ allegations for legal reasons.
Correspondence sent to Mr. Evans from RCIPS Chief Inspector Harlan Powery in February indicated that the police professional standards unit had ended the complaint without taking any action.
“The…unit has closed the investigation into your complaint; due to the fact the individuals you complained of are no longer members of the RCIPS,” wrote Mr. Powery. “In addition, both Mr. Coy and Mr. Bridger have long since departed our jurisdiction.”