Digging for truth

Since my return from the Cayman Islands there has been a concerted campaign by the establishment to keep the truth about what happened during Operation Tempura from the public. In the next few weeks there are likely to be some significant developments in the case that will throw more light on what actually occurred in Operation Tempura and how the public has been deceived and misled by those who, at the time of the investigation, held high office both within the Cayman Islands and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

To date, perhaps understandably, in the absence of the full facts, individuals have made inaccurate comments regarding me personally and Operation Tempura. The reason I am unable at this time to provide the full facts of what occurred is because of ongoing court proceedings both in the UK and the Cayman Islands.

There are three outstanding court proceedings against me:

Firstly the action that ex Commissioner Stuart Kernohan took against me in the Cayman Islands in 2009, accusing me of Misconduct in Public Office.

Secondly the attorney general and the current commissioner of RCIPS took action against me in 2012 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. They are trying to prevent me using legal advices, which I received during Operation Tempura. These advises are required for my defence of the Kernohan action.

Thirdly the attorney general has taken court proceedings against me in the Cayman Islands again to prevent me from using the legal advices, which I received while conducting Operation Tempura. Again I need to be able to use these legal advices in my defence of the Kernohan action.

As all three matters are still before the courts I am limited in my ability to talk more openly to either the press or the public. However, in the following paragraphs I will explain some facts that I hope will help dispel some myths about Operation Tempura and assist the public to better understand the current position. The following will provide the details of the attempts which continue to be made to conceal the truth from the public and hinder my defence of the Kernohan action.
In 2009 the attorney general in the Cayman Islands agreed to represent me in the action brought against me by Kernohan. This representation was provided to me only on the condition that within my defence statement I was not critical of the judiciary or the attorney general’s chambers.

I agreed to this condition as I felt that my criticisms were, to some extent, a separate issue that I would be able to return to at a later time.

In the months that followed Douglas Schofield, counsel for the attorney general’s chambers, came to London on two occasions. During this time he worked with me on the preparation of my defence statement.

Later in the year I received communication from Mr. Schofield that Kernohan had gone ‘quiet’. Mr. Schofield’s view was that Kernohan may be abandoning his action against me.

In October 2010, in light of this news, I decided to make a public complaint regarding those issues, which the AG’s chambers were reluctant for me to include in my statement namely the behaviour of some of the judiciary, the AG and FCO officials. I addressed my complaint to the FCO in London who then forwarded it to Governor Duncan Taylor. I thought that by making an official complaint people would be held accountable for their actions and the truth about what happened during Operation Tempura would be revealed.

Once I had made my complaint to the governor, the attorney general withdrew the funding for my defence of the Kernohan action, which was now live again. The attorney general claimed that as a result of my complaint there was a conflict of interest and that representation by his office would cease.

I approached Commissioner David Baines and asked whether he would support me in instructing other legal representation. He refused on the basis that I had breached the undertaking with the attorney by being critical of the judiciary and the attorney general’s chambers in my complaint. I told him I felt this was unfair and that I should be able to instruct another solicitor, but he was not willing to listen.

As a consequence, in the months that followed I was left with no other alternative other than to fund my own defence of the Kernohan action. It took me almost a year to enlist the financial support of the Metropolitan Police. They agreed to allocate a fixed sum of money to support my defence.

In the meantime Governor Taylor had appointed Benjamin Aina QC to investigate my complaint. I cooperated fully with the process. Mr. Taylor dismissed all of the allegations I had made. I requested a copy of his reasoning’s but he refused to give them to me. I insisted that as the complainant I was entitled to have a documented record of his reasoning. Counsel Benjamin Aina agreed with me and I was then supplied with the governor’s written reasons, only though, on the understanding that I signed an undertaking not to share the contents with anyone other than my counsel. At that time I felt that I had no alternative but to agree to this condition. I invite you to consider why I was required to sign such an undertaking?

The governor continues to keep his findings secret and is currently involved in judicial review proceedings with the Freedom of Information commissioner. I would welcome the findings being made public.

Although I have signed an undertaking not to disclose the findings, I am able to say that they do contain information that would be embarrassing to the judiciary, the attorney general’s chambers and FCO officials. Again, I would ask you to consider why your own
governor wants to keep the details of the true facts secret. I want to reiterate here that although I am under no obligation to keep my ‘complaint’ away from public scrutiny I have been advised that in all the circumstances I should not risk yet another lawsuit against me.

In June of last year there was a mediation process in the UK involving Kernohan, the attorney general and myself. It was hoped that Kernohan and the AG would be able to come to some sort of settlement and all the matters be dropped. However, the mediation process failed.

The attorney general and RCIPS Commissioner then took an action against me in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Their application was for the court to order me to return statements, legal advice, records of meetings and memo’s etc., which I have in my possession. The court ruled in my favour, stating that I was entitled to keep the material to enable me to properly defend the action brought against me by Kernohan.

After the ruling, Commissioner Baines made representations to the Metropolitan Police for me to return documentation I had in my possession. The Metropolitan Police directed, in contravention of the court ruling, that I should return all the material in my possession to RCIPS. On the advice of my solicitor and treasury counsel I have, to date, refused to do so. Regrettably such a position, amongst other things, has put the continuation of my funding from the Metropolitan Police in jeopardy.

In September 2012 I was in the Cayman Islands defending the third action brought against me. This action was also brought by the attorney general seeking to prevent me using legal advice, which I obtained whilst conducting Operation Tempura. My counsel made clear to the court that I should be entitled to rely on this advice as part of my defence in the Kernohan case. Much of the advice I particularly want to rely on was provided by Andre Mondesir who was my independent counsel for much of the duration of the Tempura investigation. We currently await the judgement of Justice Williams.

I hope that the public will now have a greater understanding of the restrictions I face in making the facts of Operation Tempura known. It is my view that in a de
mocratic society, efforts to restrict public examination of decisions and actions made by public officials should not be allowed. It is not sufficient for governments to express the need for good governance, accountability and adherence to values and integrity if they are not equally prepared to face public scrutiny as to their own compliance to those standards of behaviour.

Martin Bridger

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I have no direct personal interest in any of this but it does seem that Mr Bridger’s complaints of unfairness need to be reviewed in the context of a book written by Michael Gillard entitled – Untouchables: Dirty cops, bent justice and racism in Scotland Yard. It is available to download.

    Amongst the sections of the Met police who come under scrutiny in the book are CIB3, Mr Bridger’s old team at New Scotland Yard, whose conduct during the now infamous supergrass trials is still the subject of appeals, complaints and civil litigation. How much the misconduct in CIB3 has so far cost the London council tax payers remains to be seen but it is certainly a heck of a lot more than the bill for Tempura so to see the Met handing over yet more money to him does surprise me a bit.

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  2. Mr. Bridger

    Anyone who has an inkling of how this entire situation all started…and who has a mediocum of intlligence in their heads…and integrity in their hearts…

    Can and should have pieced this all together by now, as I have done…a long time ago.

    Your statements here only confirms what I already have surmised and any official release of documentation will only re-confirm that knowledge.

    While I have never met you in person…and I do acknowledge that mistakes were made during Operation Tempura…

    I, and many others others in Cayman, have you to thank personally for some small measure of justice that was provided us through your work.

    As the old saying goes, the truth WILL win out in the end…

    And I have absolutely no doubt, that in your case, it will.

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  3. Most of this letter is complete rubbish.

    I find it fascinating that Martin Bridger has refused to go public on anything except these very vague allegations. At one stage both he and Martin Polaine were offering to support my calls for a public inquiry into operations Tempura and Cealt but they then refused to exchange any information. It turned out just to be a fishing exercise to see what I really knew and this letter is much the same.

    The little bust up with Douglas Schofield was nothing more than blatant breach of trust. Bridger (or strictly speaking Martin Polaine because he actually drafted the original complaint) simply tried to de-rail the whole judicial process when it wasn’t going his way. Because he didn’t have the supposedly mandatory litigation insurance to cover any of this he wanted to be completely protected by the Cayman Islands government from any financial fallout but they wouldn’t play ball. So he retaliated by attacking the Attorney General in the hope of leveraging him into covering all the costs. That move has clearly backfired.

    Same with these documents. You are being very economical with the truth here Mr Bridger. What the argument is about goes way beyond simple legal consultations and includes (according to both the RCIPS and the Met) the entire records from the initial Tempura investigation. These were supposed to have been lodged with the Met for safe keeping but just disappeared only to turn up in your possession. No one except you is really sure how much material is involved but the feeling is it includes a lot of very sensitive information including details of informants, witness statements, possibly even the results of telephone and email interceptions. Who knows? Your team illegally seized Justice Henderson’s computers at a time when Tempura had an IT specialist on strength and he could easily have lifted vast amounts of highly confidential court information for you. That expert departed the Cayman Islands within days of the illegal arrest and seizure. I wonder why?

    Right now complaints are being filed and questions asked in the UK about the use of Met police funds in this matter. Rather than digging for the truth I believe this letter has just dug Martin Bridger even further into the deep dark and rather smelly hole he was trying to get himself out of.

    As I have posted before – Martin, why will you not simply release your copy of the Aina report and the original complaint? If you are not prepared to do that at least have the good sense to shut up about how badly you think you have been treated because I can tell you now that the media in UK have no sympathy for these unsubstantiated outbursts.

    I am also in contact with some of the victims of your old unit, CIB3, and the stories they have to tell about their treatment have more in common with Soviet Russia than the UK. Show trials, fabricated evidence, bent witnesses, you name it they suffered it. How can you dare to talk about democratic society and attempts to restrict your access to the truth after your police unit apparently put innocent people behind bars and are allegedly still trying to cover up what happened?

    This press release is, in my opinion, a smoke and mirrors job – please do not be fooled by it.

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