Nearly six years since he first arrived in the Cayman Islands to investigate alleged corruption within the local police service, a legal dispute involving Martin Bridger is set to appear in court Friday over the ill-fated Operation Tempura investigation.
The former senior investigating officer is seeking the right to use documents in his own defence that the Cayman Islands attorney general believes he shouldn’t have access to. Mr. Bridger, along with the AG, is a defendant in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Commissioner Stuart Kernohan over the Tempura debacle. That lawsuit, according to Mr. Kernohan’s attorneys, is not able to move forward until the dispute between Mr. Bridger and the attorney general’s chambers is resolved.
It has taken the court system almost two years so far to do so.
According to court records obtained by the Caymanian Compass, Attorney General Sam Bulgin has filed a claim in Grand Court seeking to prevent the release in court of certain unidentified documents held by Mr. Bridger. Precisely what those records contain is unknown, but it’s clear the government is keen to keep them under wraps.
Court records filed in October 2011 state: “The grounds of this application are that, as set out in detail in the first affidavit of Vicki Ann Ellis [former Cayman Islands solicitor general], the defendant [Mr. Bridger] has threatened to disclose in the Kernohan proceedings certain privileged documents in circumstances where the court is entitled to and should restrain him from doing so.”
Mr. Bridger, former Governor Stuart Jack and the Cayman Islands government were named in a writ filed by Mr. Kernohan back in 2009, claiming that the Operation Tempura probe and actions of Governor Jack cost Mr. Kernohan his contract with the RCIPS.
Legal proceedings in Cayman during 2011 ended up removing Mr. Jack from the lawsuit and also revealed that Mr. Bridger, who served during a portion of Operation Tempura as a paid member of the RCIPS, had been cast adrift by government to look after his own defence in the lawsuit.
Former Acting RCIPS Commissioner James Smith was also removed from the lawsuit during the 2011 hearing.
Attempts to block Mr. Bridger’s documents from being used in the lawsuit via the UK courts failed, as did mediation efforts with Mr. Kernohan.
The attorney general’s chambers then sought to block the records from use in Cayman. Grand Court Justice Richard Williams heard applications in the case, but has not yet issued a decision. A September hearing last year in judge’s chambers was held behind closed doors, as will Friday’s proceedings.
Details of several other records related to the Operation Tempura investigation, which lasted between 2007 and 2009 in Cayman and cost an estimated $10 million, have been consistently withheld from release.
Those include: A 185-page report that reviewed, in detail, complaints filed against certain members of the Cayman Islands judiciary and the attorney general’s office in connection with Operation Tempura, which cost the territory $335,548.70. The report was ordered released by Cayman Islands Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert. That order was challenged via a judicial review filed by Governor Duncan Taylor.
The details of a reported six-figure lawsuit settlement between the Cayman Islands government and former RCIPS Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon.
An open records request was denied for the decision of a judge regarding legal representation for former Operation Tempura Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger.
In the UK, a separate request for a copy of a complaint filed by Mr. Bridger in connection with the Tempura case was also denied.