Former Cayman prosecutor under fire in TCI top post

| 30/03/2016 | 1 Comment
Cayman News Service

John Masters, Turks and Caicos Islands Director of Public Prosecutions

(CNS): John Masters, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the Turks and Caicos Islands and a former senior prosecutor in the Cayman Islands, is under investigation by the country’s Integrity Commission. According to reports from TCI media, a number of complaints have been made about Masters by his staff and other government officials over costly consultants he has hired who are believed to be his close friends.

While public officials from the commission have refused to comment about the probe, Masters told The Sun that he was aware of an investigation but he did not know any details.

“It comes as no surprise that such a complaint has been made because I have made a lot of changes to unsatisfactory practices that have become entrenched in the Office of the DPP (ODPP). There has been a culture of internal bullying and self-interest by a few members of staff and I emphasise: only a few members of staff. The bulk of the staff, both administrative and lawyers, is professional. I am proud and feel privileged to be working with them,” he told the TCI media house.

“Some of the matters that I have been forced to address are frankly unbelievable for an institution that should attract the respect and confidence of the community. It has undoubtedly become apparent to those opposing change that it is going to happen unless I can somehow be undermined or made scared of reprisals unless I back down. But let me tell you, I do not react to threats,” he added.

In correspondence between Masters and other government officials it appears that the prosecutor was seeking a discretionary budget to overcome “so many hurdles thrown in front of me that do not allow me to do my job”.

He spoke of overseas witnesses for trials sitting in car parks with nowhere to stay and paying for security out of his own pocket and wasting time on red tape.

Masters told the Sun he would have a lot to tell the Integrity Commission when they contact him and said he did not think they would “be fooled by any diversionary tactic”, as he suggested he had done his best to keep office costs down and the complaints were fuelled by disgruntled lawyers who were disrupting the office because, he said, they had been told to treat colleagues who are not lawyers with respect, to come into work on time and to understand that every time that they are told to do something that they do not like, “it is not an attack of disrespect towards them”.

Masters, an Australian national, has been practicing law for more than 25 years. He worked in Cayman as a prosecutor in the legal department, the forerunner of the DPP’s office, between 2008 and 2011 before moving back to Australia and then to TCI in 2015.

While in the Cayman Islands he acted for the crown on several high profile cases, including the charges against the former one term UDP MLA Dwayne Seymour arising out of an assault at the Beach Suites hotel and allegations that the MLA had tried to use his position to avoid arrest.

He was also the prosecutor who doggedly pursued the controversial case against Marius Voiculescu, a former school teacher, over an infinitesimal amount of ganja that was not his. The teacher was acquitted twice after Master continued to appeal the court’s decisions. Voiculescu was convicted of possession of a half-smoked ganja spliff amounting to 0.129 grams in December 2008 but that was overturned a year later. However, the case went to the Court of Appeal twice before Master’s gave up.

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Category: Caribbean, Crime, World News

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  1. Marius Voiculescu says:

    It comes as no surprise to me that Mr. Masters finds himself in this position. In my opinion, in his rabid attempts to convict me at all cost, he proved to be by far the least brightest of bulbs in the chandelier. And that’s despite CUC running at full power in those days… I miss Old Wile E. Coyote.

    Marius Voiculescu

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