Operation Tempura complaint ordered released

In
a stunning ruling, Cayman Islands Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert
ordered the release of a controversial complaint filed by the former chief
investigator and the ex-legal advisor for the ill-fated Operation Tempura
corruption probe. 

 

Mrs.
Dilbert also ordered Governor Duncan Taylor’s office to release a response that
evaluated the claims put forth in the complaint filed by Martin Polaine and
Martin Bridger. Governor Taylor said the complaint was without merit following
the issuance of a 185-page review done on it by a UK-based Queen’s Counsel. 

 

Previous
open records requests for the complaint documents filed by the Caymanian
Compass and a private citizen in the United Kingdom were foiled when the UK
Foreign and Commonwealth Office declined to release them on the grounds they
could prejudice relations between Britain and its overseas territory.  

 

A
similar request, made by John Evans – a former witness in the Operation Tempura
investigation here in Cayman – was filed with the governor’s office. It was
rejected on the grounds that releasing the records would cause Mr. Taylor’s
office to publish materials that were defamatory.  

 

The
complaint filed by Mr. Polaine and later carried forward by Mr. Bridger
involved certain allegations against members of the Cayman Islands judiciary
and representatives of the attorney general’s office in connection with the
Tempura probe.  

 

Operation
Tempura was a two-year, $10 million investigation into alleged misconduct
within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service that was active in between
September 2007 and roughly the end of 2009.  

 

On
Thursday Mrs. Dilbert wrote to Mr. Evans and to the governor’s office informing
them of her decision. In it, she made the groundbreaking declaration that a
section of the Cayman Islands’ Freedom of Information Law – which seeks to
prevent the release of defamatory matter – was “not justifiable in a democratic
society”.  

 

“I
consider that subsection 54 (1) [of the FOI Law] disproportionately restricts
the right to free expression,” Mrs. Dilbert wrote in a lengthy ruling.  

 

“It
is one of the most impressive and detailed FOI decisions I have ever seen and
if the governor challenges it he’s just wasting time and public money,” Mr.
Evans said Thursday night.  

 

Public
money was one of many deciding factors in Mrs. Dilbert’s decision. She cited
the fact that the 185-page evaluation of Mr. Bridger’s complaint cost Cayman
Islands taxpayers more than $300,000 to complete. Attorney Benjamin Aina, QC.,
performed the review.  

 

The
governor’s office now has 45 days to seek to challenge the release of the
records in Grand Court. If it does not do so, both the complaint and the
response to the complaint must be published  

 

Please
see more on this story in upcoming editions of the Caymanian Compass… 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. John,

    As we already knew and discussed on this forum many times…this all had to come out sooner or later.

    With the establishment of the Bill of Rights in Cayman’s courts now, hiding and covering up this entire fiasco can lead to lawsuits that will call for court injunctions to reveal this information as evidence in these cases.

    To my knowledge, there are at least two outstanding matters before Cayman’s courts, involving ex-Police Commissioner, Stuart Kernohan…and the issue of Bridger’s and Polaine’s involvement in this matter.

    This entire dirty episode is about to hit the public, mate…and not before time either, imo.

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  2. I’m very pleased at this decision as, in addition to further exposing more the horrendous activities of the FCO in the Cayman Islands, it also shows that Mrs. Dilbert is willing to do her job, without fear or favour.

    Now – if only we could get the Complaints Commissioner to Investigate the Police for Maladministration.

    Thank you Mrs. Dilbert!

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  3. Sometime today you should be able to view the complete decision by going to -http://www.infocomm.ky/appeals

    Firery, mate your support is always welcome and this ruling follows right on from three decisions in my favour by the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) relating to Operation Tempura, including one against a very senior Met officer. Add to that Millwall beating Leeds last Sunday and it has been a heck of a good week for me.

    Seriously, I hope this ruling will serve as a wake up call to both the Governor’s office and the FCO that trying to bury the truth does not work any more. It may also go some way towards creating the willingness to finally accept the need for both a proper investigation into what happened during Operation Tempura/Cealt and for the completion of Dan Duguay’s 2009 audit of this fiasco.

    However, the significance of this ruling goes beyond the Polaine/Bridger complaint and into serious conflicts between existing legislation and recent, highly publicised, events like the implementation of both the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. It all looks like I’ve opened up a legal minefield here, which is eventually going to cost the people of the Cayman Islands a lot of money and that gives me no satisfaction at all.

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