Cayman Islands government lawyers revealed last week that US$2,700 had been spent in tracking down the location and determining the financial resources of former Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan.
Mr. Kernohan is suing the government for wrongful dismissal and breach of contract in connection with his March 2008 suspension and subsequent firing later in that year. The firing came as an ancillary result of the infamous Operation Tempura corruption investigation in Cayman between September 2007 and April 2009. Acting on behalf of the government in a lawsuit hearing last week, Martin Griffiths, QC, said Mr. Kernohan had been “evasive” in informing the government of his whereabouts – listing only the address of the law firm representing him in previous court filings.
The government hired a private investigator in the US to track down the former police commissioner, Mr. Griffiths said.
If Mr. Kernohan’s lawsuit fails and he must pay attorneys fees, the government wants to know where to find him. The private investigator found Mr. Kernohan in California, USA, where he is studying and logging flight hours to become a helicopter pilot.
There was also additional research done to determine Mr. Kernohan’s personal assets, which included a bank account in Liverpool, another account in Scotland and a small account and motor vehicle in the US.
“What you have is an extremely evasive and mobile [plaintiff],” Mr. Griffiths said. Mr. Griffiths stated that the government needed to obtain at least US$40,000 to $60,000 in security of costs against potential enforcement of any court judgment in California.
Speaking for Mr. Kernohan, attorney Richard Davison said the California issue was “a red herring”.
“He’s been very mobile, but that’s not his fault,” Mr. Davison said. “He was reluctant to [give his home address]. He was afraid of repercussions if he did so.”
Mr. Andrew Hogarth, QC, also representing Mr. Kernohan in the lawsuit, put it more bluntly.
“If the investigators can arrest a sitting Grand Court judge, then they can certainly arrest the former commissioner of police,” he said, referring to earlier actions of the Operation Tempura investigating team.
Judge Sir Alan Moses ordered a US$49,200 surety to be provided by Mr. Kernohan by 13 June.
The judge urged both parties involved to settle the lawsuit rather than taking it to court.