Another Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officer has sought a judicial review over a department decision to demote him from the rank of inspector down to police constable.
The decision to demote former RCIPS Inspector Richard Harford came after a disciplinary hearing, according to court records reviewed by the Caymanian Compass.
Mr. Harford was accused of violating two sections of the police regulations regarding conduct for officers in relation to an incident where an police service special constable was prevented from leaving the territory.
According to the police Professional Standards Unit disciplinary charge: “[Mr. Harford] caused a stop notice to be placed on the immigration file of Mr. Altemond Rowe, a member of the special constabulary, at the Owen Roberts International Airport without there being a criminal investigation being carried out against the said Mr. Rowe.”
In addition, Mr. Harford allegedly represented that a police sergeant was investigating an offence committed by Mr. Rowe “knowing that such representation [was] false”.
According to court records, Mr. Harford denied both the charges, but was demoted as a result of the disciplinary action taken against him by the department.
In seeking a judicial review of the matter, Mr. Harford claimed that there was either no evidence or insufficient evidence to support the demotion ordered by RCIPS Deputy Commissioner Steve Brougham.
“The … decision of Deputy Commissioner Brougham is irrational, unlawful and ultra vires (Latin term meaning ‘outside the law’),” the judicial review application claims.
The judicial review document also stated that an “unlawful” decision was made by Police Commissioner David Baines to refuse to hear an application to review Mr. Brougham’s decision.
A judicial review application is not proof of any claims, whether they are made against Mr. Baines, Mr. Brougham or Mr. Harford in this case. The court must decide first whether it will entertain such an application and then, if it does proceed, hear the case on its own merits before making a determination.
A statement was issued Tuesday regarding Mr. Harford’s case by the local police association: “The law is clear, as we interpret it, and any deviation from that would be an abuse of power or maladministration. The association stands behind the officer to understand where the organisation got the powers to render such a verdict.”
According to a 5 September filing, an attorney acting on behalf of RCIPS Constable Cardiff Robinson has sought access to a prosecutor’s case file and ruling from July where the Director of Public Prosecutions “chose not to pursue a criminal charge of assault by a senior police officer against [Mr. Robinson] and gave her reasons for doing so”.
The application seeking leave for judicial review by the Grand Court requested the immediate disclosure of the case records.
“[Mr. Robinson] is currently considering bringing civil proceedings against the police commissioner and requires access to the ruling and the criminal file, especially witness statements known to be contained in the said file,” according to the judicial review application.
The police constable’s judicial review request states that on 15 February he filed an incident report with the RCIPS “which complained of an alleged assault against [Mr. Robinson] by a senior police officer, [Chief Inspector] Frank Owens in charge of George Town district policing”.
Speaking before the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee earlier this year, Commissioner Baines referenced the incident.
“Certainly, from the nature of it, no assault has taken place, even though there is somebody suggesting it has taken place and yet it has hit the media,” Mr. Baines said.
“On or about 30 July, 2012, the director of public prosecutions advised that a criminal charge of assault was made out against CS Owens, but a decision had also been made not to proceed with a charge against him on the grounds of public interest immunity,” the judicial review application stated.
Mr. Baines’ comments to the LA were made prior to the file being forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions for legal advice on 26 March.
The file prepared by the prosecutor’s office was not turned over to Mr. Robinson or his attorney, the judicial review application claimed.