Police agree to investigate 2012 arrest of Frank McField

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will investigate the arrest of a former government minister last year involving a loud music complaint at a George Town restaurant.  

Frank McField filed a formal complaint with Police Commissioner David Baines over the incident shortly after the case against the former lawmaker was dismissed from court upon a magistrate’s determination that there was “no case for Mr. McField to answer”.  

“My case never needed to come before a court because it was obvious, even to the Pope’s dog, that the seizure of some of my possessions and my arrest and detainment was unlawful,” Mr. McField wrote in a letter to the Caymanian Compass earlier this month. “Much was said and made of the fact that several candidates in our recent elections had cases pending before the courts. I was one of those candidates who had to suffer the humiliation and disadvantage of campaigning while on bail.”  

Mr. Baines said RCIPS Chief Inspector Richard Barrow, the head of the police Professional Standards Unit, would investigate the issue after he received a letter from Mr. McField on 10 June related to the arrest.  

“Your letter raises issues of serious concern,” Mr. Baines wrote in reply to Mr. McField on 13 June.  

Several of the claims made by Mr. McField in his letter to the Compass concern issues outside of what was said before the court in his resisting arrest and obstructing police case and cannot be reported due to legal concerns.  

The charges against the former MLA stemmed from an attempt by police officers to seize equipment being used to play music after midnight on Sunday, 20 May, 2012, at the El Caboose Restaurant, of which Mr. McField is the proprietor.  

The restaurant, in McField Square in George Town, was managed at the time by Silvana Lewis, who was charged with the same offences, plus two others. For the same reasons as in Mr. McField’s case, the magistrate dismissed the charges of obstructing police and resisting arrest.  

Two other charges remain – permitting use of a premises for the purpose of music and dancing after hours and assault causing bodily harm. The named complainant in the assault matter is a police officer who was allegedly bitten. These two charges are still before the court and will be mentioned again on 3 July.  

The “no case to answer” submission was made by Mr. McField after the Crown closed its case.  

The evidence was that police first arrived at the restaurant at 12.40am as a private party was in progress to celebrate Honduran Mother’s Day. Mr. McField was not present at the time; Ms Lewis’ position was that they had instructed that the music be turned off, but gave no legal reason for doing so.  

Mr. McField was present when officers returned to the premises around 1.30am, entered the restaurant and attempted to seize the music equipment. When Ms Lewis tried to block them from doing so, there was a struggle and they arrested her. Mr. McField became involved and was arrested for obstructing police.  

Mr. McField argued that there was nothing in law that allowed the police to enter the premises for the purpose of taking the equipment without a warrant or without having made an arrest first. The charges of obstruction and resisting arrest sprang from resistance to that initial, incorrect police action, he said.  

One of the officers had told the court he did not need any authority to enter the premises because the law was being breached and he was making inquiries. The Police Law states that a police officer may enter a premises for the purpose of executing a warrant, making an arrest, recapturing a person unlawfully at large, or for the purpose of saving a life or preventing serious damage to property. The law further states that a police officer may seize anything on the premises if he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that it is necessary to seize it in order to prevent the evidence from being concealed, lost or destroyed.  

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Mr. McField

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Mr. Baines

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Frank McField’s restaurant in McField Square in George Town, which was known as the El Caboose when he was arrested. – Photo: Stuart Wilson
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6 COMMENTS

  1. Obviously it seems that the police are wrong, however as I have stressed before; the RCIP has some police officers in it that should be doing nothing beside driving the garbage truck. Even then they would get lost. The simple answer is that THE RCIP OFFICERS DOES NOT STUDY THE LAW. Many occasions the public have to be quoting the law to them. It is disgraceful and lie at the feet of the Commissioner for employing untrained officers, persons who know nothing about the laws of the land. My wife or husband is a Caymanian and I can get a job in the police force. (This need to stop) My friend is a sergeant or an inspector so he is going to help me out get a job. No no no it needs to stop. Corruption.

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  2. Sue them, Frank…sue the backs*de off them…simple as.

    All of this friendly negotiations with the RCIPS when they have broken the law annoys me greatly…why ?

    Because the police are subject to the same law that all citizens are and they are sworn and paid to uphold and enforce that law…when they come to enforce the law, they do not NEGOTIATE…they carry out what they see as their duty…end of story.

    So…why should anyone write letters asking for apologies or negotiate with the RCIPS when THEY have violated other people’s human rights laws ?

    SUE THEM…end of !

    When there is a couple of major cases, with significant pay-out, then…

    The Attorney General and Commissioner of Police will move ahead with the training and education of their police officers in legal procedures and the human rights laws that now apply in Cayman.

    Dr. Frank, do your country a favour and SUE the RCIPS, the attorney general and the commissioner of police in this case…

    DO NOT accept any type of apology as the end of the matter !

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  3. Berty, it may sound harsh of me saying this, but you have to definitely have an encounter with some of these police, to know they will drive you that far to spit in their face. The police on many occasions push some of the public to the limits when investigating a case. I will support the police when need be, but they have some class kind of police officers in that force that needs to be fired paid their money and sent on their way.

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  4. Sue Them! Then maybe the RCIPS will require a person to do more than run a mile in 12mins or less to become a constable. Only then maybe a proper english exam will have to be passed and we will have officers in the force that can write a proper sentence. Also please get them some basic computer training and a type writing course then some officers wont be doing things the ancient way like hand writing out a report. With all that being said i must commend the honest officers that do a great job on a day to day basis, unfortunately the incompetent outweigh the capable.

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