A final decision on whether criminal charges will be filed against former Cayman Islands corruption investigator Martin Bridger is expected in early November.
According to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the completed case file – including a review done by outside counsel – has been sent to Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards for a ruling, which is expected during the first week of November.
RCIPS officials had expected the decision on charges to occur by the end of August, but the matter has been further delayed since then.
Mr. Bridger, now in his 60’s, was the lead investigator involved in the Operation Tempura debacle between 2007-2009 here in Cayman.
The former U.K. Metropolitan Police officer arrived in Cayman in September 2007 to investigate allegations of collusion between a newspaper publisher and a top-ranking member of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. The original allegations against the publisher and the senior RCIPS officer turned out to be bogus. The investigation then shifted its focus to how local police commanders had carried out their investigation of those allegations, leading to the suspension of three senior officers.
The Tempura investigation, which cost more than $10 million after more than two years, ended with no criminal convictions. Various spin-off probes that resulted from the investigation have also ended. Mr. Bridger’s matter is the final issue left before the local legal system in connection with the corruption probe.
The allegations made against Mr. Bridger surfaced long after he left the islands.
It was In August 2014 that then-RCIPS Commissioner David Baines alluded to the possibility that Mr. Bridger could be in some legal trouble over certain statements he made following the case, particularly criminal allegations Mr. Bridger made in early 2013 against the territory’s former governor and current attorney general. The former U.K. lawman had alleged to the U.K. Met Police and the RCIPS that former Cayman Governor Stuart Jack and Attorney General Sam Bulgin misled him about various facts in the Tempura investigation.
Former Governor Jack and Mr. Bulgin have publicly denied those allegations. Mr. Jack at one point commented that it was “high time” Mr. Bridger be held accountable for his statements.
Mr. Baines said in 2014, “Whilst the criminal allegations made by Mr. Bridger failed, were unsupported and unproved after analysis of all of the available evidence, it is correct to say that his account and publishing of data within the media led to counter-allegations of criminal conduct being made in relation to his conduct. Those allegations remain under investigation and are subject to continued inquiry.”
It is the investigation of the allegations referred to by Mr. Baines that has taken the last four years to resolve. During that time, Mr. Bridger said he had never been formally interviewed by RCIPS investigators.
“If I was interviewed, all the facts concerning Operation Tempura from September 2007 to date could form part of my defense,” Mr. Bridger said in a statement to the Cayman Compass in August. “I am aware that such an interview could result in the exposure of some individuals and the [U.K.] Foreign and Commonwealth Office to further scrutiny.
“The fact that after four years I remain under criminal investigation continues to have a debilitating effect on my post-retirement career and my family.”