Second cop takes commissioner to court

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.” 


‘Assault’ review 

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. 


Mr. Brougham


  1. Karma is a poodle, ain’t she ?!

    And when she turns run and bites you on the bum, she bites pretty hard.

    After a number of personal run-ins with this police officer, in the first reported case in this article, it took an official complaint made to the Foreign Commonwealth Office, through the British High Commission in Jamaica, to back him off.

  2. These senior officers(Commissioner, Deputy and High Command) should note that many injustices were done to officers in the past and no actions have been taken against them as agents of the state and the Government because the wronged officer(s) might have been either intimidated or they were foreign nationals who might have been afraid that their contracts would have been pulled so they swallowed the injustice and kept their mouths shut. Somebody must stand up and be counted. Special rules of discipline apply to police officers(prison officers,soldiers etc) over and above those which apply to other government employees. This is obvious for the fact that the R.C.I.P is semi-military and uniformed body and must be rigorously regulated since they have to deal with the rights of the citizens and must be fearless and impartial in the execution of their duties. These are not reason enough for justice to be denied to the officers. How do the Police Commissioner , His Deputy and the High Command expect the officers to be impartial and fearless in the discharge of their duties if they don’t set the examples themselves . With respect to to the first case if the Deputy acted ultra vires his authority because procedural irregularity, Impropriety, and contrary to the police law, could he have gotten away with this same action in the UK? if the answer is no, then he should not get away with this in the Cayman Island, albeit an overseas territory of the UK. With respect to the second case, the question is whether the Commissioner or the legal department thought that justice was done in not proceeding with the criminal assault against the senior officer.Would a reasonable man looking at the circumstances conclude that an injustice was done? if yes then the case should proceed against the officer no matter how highly the Commissioner or the High Command might regard him. Justice must not only appear to be done but must be manifestly seen to be done. Also if a Tribunal of fact would conclude from looking at the facts and evidence that a crime of assault was committed by this senior officer, then by all means he should be charge. No one , not even the highest rank of the Judiciary or the Commissioner of of police can just dispense with with the law for any reason or for any individual. Under the rule of natural Justice there are some basic tenets. The rule against bias and the (audi alteram partem )i.e. hear the other side of the story to name just two. These are cardinal principles that should be uphold.In some other jurisdictions this would cause an uproar or public out cry. Why should we in this jurisdiction be satisfy with this situation? Its just not right. Fix the problems in the Service and set the example for the public. We are watching and observing you Legal Department and Commissioner and his able Deputy.

  3. There is increasing evidence to suggest that maladministration exists within the RCIPS, generally, and as it relates to discipline and promotion, in particular.

    Regrettably persons aggrieved within the RCIPS may not always be able to afford Judicial Review, and therefore there needs to be some oversight of the RCIPS in this regard.

    The Police Public Complaints Authority setup under s109 of the Police Law 2010 only handles complaints relating to the conduct of an officer, as opposed to policy(ies) and procedures (or the absence thereof)which create real injustices and unfair practices to exist.

    It is for this reason that I read with much pleasure that Mr. Ellio Solomon, GT MLA has brought a Motion to have the Complaints Commissioner investigate the RCIPS for allegations of Maladministration.

    I am sure that the FCO, and its local organs and surrogates, will try to derail this effort to have Maladministration within the RCIPS investigated, but I hope the Motion will pass.

  4. Firery, is that Harford or Brougham you are referring to?

    My only thought on this is that there seems to be (and I am basing this on input from poice or ex-police sources) a realisation in most of the UK that any disciplinary act so serious that it merits a demotion like this is better dealt with by sacking the officer concerned or in this case probably just not renewing his contract. It just seems a perverse, and rather vindictive, decision.

  5. Greetings. I just want to bring to your attention and the powers that be that it is alledged that the said officer prevented an ex-coworker of mine from leaving Cayman by placing a block on him at the airport. My ex-coworker had a minor case in court and was never told that he could not leave the island yet he was blocked twice.SOW GOOD SEED

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