Review of DPP statement on the Pines

| 23/09/2015 | 16 Comments

Cayman News ServicePeter Polack writes: The recent and rare statement issued by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) came more in the form of an extract from the UK Crown Prosecution Service manual than a believable explanation to the public of the Cayman Islands.

(Read it here.)

The release raises more questions and provides few answers.

Some observations are:

  1. The ODPP only issues a statement when there is significant public outrage and media pressure. It is not driven by a genuine effort to explain the inner workings of the ODPP but a continued pattern pioneered by the present attorney general and head of the portfolio in obfuscation. The only recent light in this area was the UK justice expert report, which should be carried to its proper conclusion with the termination of the non-performing leadership of the Portfolio of Legal Affairs.
  2. The ODPP statement: “this Office is duty bound to examine all the circumstances” was not followed in at least one recent case where the ODPP’s expressed position to the court was that all available evidence need not be reviewed before charging a person under S.82 of the Police Law.
  3. The ODDP fails to apply their concept of unexplainable delays in a balanced manner. There is at least one prosecution involving an actual extradition of a non UK person for a similar offence dating back to 2008.
  4. The ODDP regularly fails to apply their concept of ‘discrepancies’ evidenced by their frequent and late withdrawal of charges, sometimes on the first day of trial after many years have passed. One recent example of this is the Bernardo case, in which the ODPP exposed the Cayman Islands Government to liability for legal costs in a significant amount as a result of negligence that was never investigated or sanctioned. The government is content to allow this but insists that the civil service limit their salary expectations in circumstances where over a hundred earn more than CI$100,000.
  5. The ODPP speaks to the “conduct of the complainant” but omits to mention that persons in a position of trust are pursued and punished more severely by the courts unless they are allowed to leave the island, giving a neat excuse about extradition cost.
  6. In the Privy Council benchmark case on prosecutorial excess of Randall in which the present attorney general was involved but not investigated the court stated: “Where a consecutive sentence is imposed on default of payment, it is intrinsically unfair to make an order which may result in the imprisonment of the offender when he lacks the means to avoid that consequence.” Similarly where persons are able to afford restitution avoid charges then a balance should apply to those who cannot. A young Caymanian bank teller was recently jailed for several months when he stole $800 to pay his CUC bill. He repaid the stolen money. This was a heartless prosecution by the ODPP.
  7. The statement: “the overall harm sustained by the complainant” was adequately covered by the outrage expressed by the chairman of the Pines, which was predictably ignored by the ODPP. As a person in a position of trust of a charitable organization now damaged by these revelations, the bar for consideration ‘in the public interest’ is a much higher, although this was not mentioned in the ODPP statement.
  8. The ODPP has spoken to “the sufficiency or insufficiency of any evidence contained in the file” in circumstances where they frequently charge persons and have them before the court for months and even years before withdrawing the charges. Sue Nicholson was lucky not to endure that ordeal. The ODPP and the Portfolio of Legal Affairs, whose chief officer is the Solicitor General Jacqueline Wilson, prevent close examination of the ODPP record by either not keeping statistics or saying that it requires an excessive manual search. A neat trick if you want to avoid oversight or criticism that other government departments are subject to. The same device works if the attorney general wants to avoid disclosure on the frequency, dates and reasons for visiting the ODPP.
  9. The “potential for legal arguments arising from issues” did not stop the attorney general from pursuing the case of Marius Voiculescu for possession of a half of a ganja spliff of 004 ounces of ganja in five proceedings: a Summary Court trial, two Grand Court hearings and two Cayman Islands Court of Appeal hearings. These required 21 Summary Court hearings, 7 Grand Court hearings and 4 CICA hearings. The Voiculescu case was only 1 of 6 appeals by the Legal department to the CICA in 2009.
  10. The “whereabouts of the accused” has not stopped extraditions from Switzerland or Jamaica, but mysteriously not from Canada or the UK.
  11. The matter of the potential cost at public expense of any extradition should be revealed to the public in circumstances where the attorney general retained outside counsel 27 times between 2011 and 2013, at a cost of almost CI$1,000,000, and $360,000 was spent on a case to decide on the retirement age of a Grand Court judge.

There are hard-working and modern members of the ODPP who should not be tarnished by the mindless meandering dinosaurs who need to step down now or be removed. The ODPP cannot be allowed to become judge and jury.

The government will be reminded of their inaction come election day 2017. To quote the persistent Steve McField: “This is not democracy, this is hypocrisy.”

Finally, but not least, the Caymanian public are reminded of the Book of Matthew:

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (16)

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  1. Marius Voiculescu says:

    Dear Mr. Polack,

    As the first commentator wrote, the legal system in the Cayman Islands does indeed make a mockery of truth and justice, though perhaps not for the same reasons that he/she refers to. There are no explanations as to why one would deliberately ignore overwhelming exculpatory evidence, such as in my case, and drag me through 21 Summary Court, 7 Grand Court and 4 CICA Court appearances for a half-smoked joint that clearly did not belong to me. Yet, these same people turn around and refuse to entertain any possibility of going after someone caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. This selective application of the law by the Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution leads many to lose faith in the judicial system. I refer to only two cases here, but there are countless others that leave the majority of the population scratching their heads. The failure to apply the law fairly, evenly, and without prejudice is something that will continue to erode the fabric of this nation. Public officials have a moral responsibility to their constituents – unfortunately, far too many use their power for self-aggrandizing purposes.

    Marius Voiculescu

  2. The Pied Piper says:

    Peter, question for you. Have you ever picked a peck of pickled pepper?

    • Marius Voiculescu says:

      Mr. Polack is doing his best to ensure that the law is applied evenly and fairly in the Cayman Islands. He does so on your behalf and on the behalf of others. Your attempt to mock him is infantile at best. Grow up!

      M. Voiculescu

  3. The Injustice of Colonialism says:

    Who shall they be replace by more great white hope’s to run this place into ground go head and when poor little Thomas high on drugs runs your little child down and kills him or her. He then goes before a super friendly judicial system with his solicitor and little Thomas mommy and daddie are the toast of our elite High Society get his little hands slapped and is sent overseas to boarding school cause mommie and daddie have been embarrassed enough by this ordeal. You are then being told that justice has been served. .Becareful what you wish for Cayman. Oh but we have such short memories in this place. Have we forgotten the last AG who was colluding with his very own kind to pervert the course of justice against anyone who opposes them or ran a foul of their nasty little agenda.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Whoa – did you all know that it’s a crime to speak against the “judiciary” of Cayman? Guess who created that rule?

  5. no justice says:

    Both the AG and the DOPP need to be stripped of their positions and terminated immediately.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. You should also be fired the next time you make a mistake in your job. Also the next time you do as you’re told and people who have nothing to do with it have an opinion.

      • Anonymous says:

        What a rude poster you are! A mistake is a mistake, but criminal behaviour under the guise of the law is a different matter.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank God for the boldness, clear information of Mr. Pollack! How can the Governor and Cabinet not seek to get rid of the obvious problem?

  7. Roy says:

    Cayman is a small island and everybody knows everyone. Could there be any conflict or relationship? An investigation of the investigation should be done.

    • Fred says:

      And of course there is absolutely no conflict between Mr Polacks profession as a criminal defence lawyer and his entirely detached comments on the operations of the DPP.

  8. allan Wilson says:

    Well done. I have been saying that the legal Dept is useless for a very long time. The good part is that the Chiefs appear to be all over.60 years of age.
    The Governor should use that as a good reason to get rid of these megalomaniacs before the new law takes effect.
    Great stuff Mr. Polack.

    • ANONYMOUS says:

      The AG and DPP are sitting in their positions for a very long time and no one in Government seem to notice how they operate so I guess they will reign forever.

      • Anonymous says:

        As bad as the CoP is managing the RCIPS at least we know he has a contract but our smart politicians had to give their puppet-masters (Jamaicans) status grants by Cabinet, so we stuck because our leaders too scared of you know who, if they were both British now, might be different.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr Polack,

    Well written, sir.
    My only suggestion would be to replace the word ‘dinosaur’ with ‘criminal’.
    In my opinion, the judiciary and legal system in Cayman and indeed the world has lost its way.
    When the legal system allows criminals to evade justice through ridiculous technicalities that make a mockery of truth and justice, then we have a legal system that is criminal itself.

    There is only one truth. What happened, happened and it is the lawyer’s responsibility to get to the truth, not depend on over-inflated egos and flowery speech to ride roughshod over common decency and “get their client off”.

    I hope all members of the judiciary and legal system take a good look in their mirrors over the next day or two and tell themselves and God that they are blameless.

    If we don’t change now, we will pay later. There is a divine legal system that is higher than the wicked web of legal corruption that we have woven.

    We will all be examined in the light of perfect truth. Please, let us all make adjustments now.

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