Officer cleared of ‘obstructing justice’ can return to work

Marine Unit Sergeant Shawn Bodden was cleared to return to work with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Tuesday, after criminal charges were dismissed earlier this month against him and his wife in connection with a years-old obstructing justice allegation.

Mr. Bodden had been on required leave from the RCIPS since May 14, 2014, when he was suspended from duty, receiving pay during the entire period of his three-and-a-half year leave.

RCIPS officials said Mr. Bodden would return to work as a sergeant and resume his former job as a marine equipment maintenance officer.

Charges of attempting to obstruct justice against Mr. Bodden and his wife were dismissed earlier this month after he had appeared in court 22 times over three years in relation to a driving offense and the obstruction charge related to it.

Mr. Bodden was convicted and fined in 2015 for driving without insurance. He had always maintained he was insured under a policy covering police officers on official business. The traffic stop that led to the conviction occurred in 2013, when Mr. Bodden was on his way to the police marine base to repair one of the RCIPS patrol vessels.

Mr. Bodden and his wife Ruth Ann were charged in 2014 for attempting to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice, essentially being accused of lying about the insurance coverage policy for which they initially could not produce documentary evidence.

The obstruction charge was set for trial, but when matters proceeded, Crown prosecutors offered no evidence because documents related to Mr. Bodden having insurance coverage were found to exist. Defense attorney Amelia Fosuhene noted during the court appearance earlier this month that the RCIPS held the insurance documents and eventually managed to produce a copy after she made numerous attempts to obtain it.

Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez apologized “on behalf of the system” to Sgt. Bodden for the more than three-year ordeal before she dismissed the charges.

In relation to the initial traffic offense of driving without insurance, Ms. Fosuhene noted that Mr. Bodden would likely have to go to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal to get the driving conviction overturned, even though he had already shown he was insured to drive the vehicle in 2013.