Police failure blamed for child sex abuse acquittals

| 15/09/2016 | 67 Comments

(CNS): Two local men accused of consistently sexually abusing a child in the family home have been acquitted after the judge pointed to the “gross incompetence” of the police investigation that undermined the evidence and prejudiced the defendants so much that he had no choice but to find the men not guilty on all counts. The two male relatives, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were accused of abusing the little girl from when she was as young as six or seven years old until she was around 12, when she revealed the abuse to an adult at her after-school club.

The case was heard without a jury by visiting UK judge, Justice Time Owens, who described it as a very “troubling case”. When he delivered his verdict via video link on Thursday, he made it clear that he did not think the child was lying.

Although he rejected the defendants’ claims that the child had made up the allegations of abuse to escape her violent mother, he said the problems in the massive delay between the victim making the complaint and the case coming to court made it difficult for him to be sure to the required standard of the men’s guilt.

Justice Owens was damning in his criticisms of the police investigation, which he described as incompetent. He made it clear it was the “inexplicable and inexcusable delays”, the failure to interview relevant potential witnesses and the loss of important notes by the police that undermined the case.

In the first unexplained delay, the police simply did nothing for some 18 months after the child gave video evidence. The judge said the “truly lamentable police response” after the child gave evidence meant that no witnesses in the house where the abuse took place were ever interviewed. As a result, there was no evidence to corroborate the child’s allegations, which were inconsistent and unspecified regarding times and places.

While the child lived in a small five-bed family home with 15 relatives, “cheek by jowl”, during the time period she claimed the abuse occurred, none of her other relatives there were ever questioned by the police.

The two defendants were not interviewed until more than 18 months after the allegations for a brief period, and there was another delay of approximately a year before they were charged. As a result of pressures on the court time-table, the case was heard some four years after the child was first interviewed.

The judge said he was left with no choice but to acquit due to those delays, as well as the missing notes, the lack of specific times and places regarding when the abuse occurred, inconsistencies in the young girl’s evidence at court compared with her earlier interviews, and the fact that it was difficult for the accused men to properly answer the vague charges.

He said that the defendants did not make an abuse of process application based on the delays in the case and the police mishandling, so no senior police witnesses ever appeared in court to explain the failures.

During the case the court had heard harrowing allegations about the abuse the child suffered, not only at the hands of her male relatives but also the violence inflicted by her mother, who beat her after she made the report. The court also heard how the child and her siblings witnessed their parents having sex as they had all shared a room and beds.

Despite the failures in the case, the child had been removed from the abusive home in the immediate wake of the allegations and was fostered by another relative.

Check back to CNS later today for a response from the RCIPS about the case.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (67)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to say but you have certain people Honduran National who are going around asking Caymanians to bring in some of their buddies as they have already brought in enough and don’t want to ask for anymore. Then when they get here they find work for them and the poor souls have to give them money from their little earnings. These people need to be stopped.

  2. Socajunkie says:

    How many of you have signed the petition?? Only 312 signatures at the moment. Take a moment to sign! It can be found on Sandy Hill – facebook page. Petitions work!

  3. Anonymous says:

    What needs to be done:

    1. Remove all custody from the parent and place the child in a safe and secure enviroment/ home where he/she can feel safe.

    2. After the ‘audit’ fire all officers involved. They should be ashamed of themselves for this mess. Also look into family services as someone must have dropped the ball there too.

    3. Government should make a big stink about this and the Govenor should listen and get off her high horse.

    4. Give this child some councelling and support as he/she is going to need it.

    Lastly, if this was anywhere else guaranteed those guys would not have been walking out of that courthouse aquitted and feeling great and i bet if anyone had went to that childs’ defence and did something to those guys they would have been in jail for assault!

  4. Annie says:

    If even one of the cowards charged with protecting this young girl stepped up the case would not have languished. That includes all family, all,too big for their britches, civil servants, and the police.

  5. frangipani says:

    what in the hell are we paying these illiterate policemen for?!!
    This is the most incredible and sickening thing I have ever read about.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So when is the big church rally at the Lions Center going to be held? What expensive expert from the US will be flying in to consult our preachers about Cayman’s child molestation problems? What? Not gonna happen? Oh right, I forgot. We only get upset and spring Into action when consenting adults who happen to be gay have the nerve to want to marry one another.


    • Food for thought says:

      It might not have been held at the Lion’s Center but Agape church sure did hold one there recently and what an enlightening session it was.

      • Tree of knowledge says:

        I’m sure the thousands of people gathered at agape in concern about child abuse discovered the solution to the problem by turning the pages of the bible to Deuteronomy 22-28-29.
        Anything other would be dubbed “unchristian”.

    • Ummm says:

      It took place last weekend. This was one of the topics

    • Anonymous says:

      Child molestation is a crime and the story is centred on incompetence of the people employed to ensure justice. You are comparing apples with oranges just to stir up hatred for your cause.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s too bad the only time I think we see discretion/consideration given to so-called welfare of Caymanian children is when they need to be used to stop a criminal parent from being deported and immigration laws can be interpreted for benefit of these jerks too.

    We were fooled once again about getting rid of CoP and not cleaning up force at same time

  8. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile the LA Opposition are busy calling for a vote on same sex marriage (trying to refuse some human his/her rights to a family life) after attending the recent 3,000 person “family values” by the churches, while they know of many (including some in those churches and the LA) who cover up or are engaged in child and spouse abuse.
    Again while the Governor cuts ribbons and Dep Governor hands out plaques and praises….haleluyah

  9. Robert says:

    One of these cops should man up and adopt this child , give her a chance at life , that’s the least they could do .

    • Anonymous says:

      You really think officers who dropped the ball like they do should even have a child in their custody? Did you start happy hour early?

  10. Veritas says:

    The biggest problem is not police incompetence, it’s the fact that hundreds of similar cases have never gone to court ,as protection of abusing family members is the Caymanian way.

  11. Angry Mother says:

    This poor child has been failed by her own family and figures of authority that didn’t even care enough to protect her, people that she trusted. By tomorrow everyone will be commenting on another topic and she will be forgotten about. Child sex abuse has been a serious problem in Cayman for as long as I can remember and it has not improved one bit. People get all worked up about two men getting married but not one soul makes an issue about children being preyed on. They gossip about it and then they look for the next headline to pop up on the news and the poor child is left damaged and brushed aside. This is unacceptable! If that was my daughter, they would have read about me in the news! It’s sad that a child could not even count on the RCIPS to care enough to save her after coming forward, which is not an easy thing to do. I pray she heals and she gets the help she needs, that someone is there for her more than her mother and the police was. My prayers go out to her. So many go through this same situation and either end up on drugs or abusers themselves. It’s a vicious cycle and it needs to be taken more seriously than it has been all of these years.

  12. Me says:

    All I have to say, police here is USELESS, HOPELESS LESS LESS. the only time they move It is in the morning to chase a patty..Divine justice will come to all of those who are not doing their jobs.

  13. Anonymous says:

    transfer all these so called police ftom family unit to shift work, they have been sitting on their laurels too long.
    HAVE THIS INCIDENT ON THEIR PERSONAL FILE, THAT PROMATIN WILL BE HARD TO GET. And top supervisors of family unit section involved in this mess of investigation be demoted after enquiries carried out.
    That wiil make them sing a different song.

  14. Anonymous says:

    And how many female polices are there in Cayman islands? With female police specially trained on this matter you will be much more effective in the future.

  15. Anonymous says:

    When you have legal, judicial and law enforcement departments that have no cohesion and very poor oversight, you will have these problems.
    There are serious flaws in our governing structures and alas, lack of personal integrity seems to be at the core.
    The head is sick and the body is listless.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Is it that terrible – bad in the RCIPS these last few years that a young sexual assault victim would be interviewed on video by our Family Support Unit and absolutely nothing more is done on the case for the next 18 months, and all original documentation somehow vanishes into thin air ?

    This is something that I would expect to hear in the Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia or somewhere in the middle east such as Syria, Afghanistan or in the jungle of South America……… but not in our jurisdiction that has the title of being the fourth largest financial capital of the world.

    Sorry, but more than one head really needs to spin on this one !!

    This matter of incompetence and don’t give a darn, needs to be investigated by an outside Police Force such as Bermuda and those found responsible for this screw up, (no doubt there is more than one) should be sent home with their belongings and never to return.

    A severe reprimand or demotion in rank is not sufficient a punishment in this case.

  17. Baines Legacy says:

    This is David Baines Legacy! thank God some of our politicians had the guts to demand he be held accountable for his incompetence. My only concern is why did the Government pay him to leave, should have been fired. At Least the Opposition members were men enough stand up and demand better. I wonder if Alden still saying they are destabilising the country?

    • Anonymous says:

      That is cr*p. This is the legacy of years of laziness and a culture that he could not change. You need to look at that department and ask what the hell they thought their job was. It is the case that the RCIPS officers employed to do a job have to be micromanaged by senior officers. When you get people like Frank Owens having to defend themselves in court tackling that exact culture, there belies the problem.

  18. Anonymous says:

    A sad day for justice in the Cayman Islands, really sad.

  19. Anonymous says:

    But what we really need to focus on in Cayman, as the 3000 crowd the other day demonstrated, is not social breakdown, crime including child abuse like this case, drug and gang related stuff, the dump, unemployment etc etc (you get crowds of 10 for those issues), but how we can make sure that the really serious problem of equal rights for LGBT people in our community can be firmly denied and the world can be told that there are bible based solutions for these problems (though not for the Holocaust, alas,). The next election may well be fought on who can bash the gays best (disguised as “family values and local culture”) as was evidenced by the presence of the Premier and Leader of the Opposition who set out their agendas to attract the “christian vote”. We are like an outcrop of Church of God parishes in Indiana, Minnesota and Arkansas and Texas and other Bible Belt parts of the US but that of course is where these churches and their pastors came from in the early days.They are dismayed at the fact that their own US Supreme Court has insisted on equal rights for gays but they are determined that such a terrible thing will not happen in Cayman.

  20. Truth and Justice says:

    It’s not just the police. It’s the judicial system, too. Look at all the lame reasons given for not punishing criminals… in all sorts of crimes. Is it this way in other countries? I don’t think so!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Some people just don’t deserve the right to have a family, and only secluding them from society for stealing a person’s childhood fits the crime, permanently or temporary removal from society, I’m down for both…

  22. Anonymous says:

    Please RCIPS – FIRE all involved officers. That is the LEAST that should happen. This poor little girl, and her siblings. And while you are at it – whoever knows who this mother is – please give her a big back into reality. What a wutless piece of trash! May all of your kids come to know your sleezy ways – and rid themselves of you as soon as they are old enough to do so.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is reasonable for one to assume that this high level of incompetence occurred under the previous UK Police Commissioner watch. He is no longer with us but this is another example of the grossly incompetent people that the Government prefer to employee rather than promoting our own people. Deputy Ennis would do a far better job but he will never be considered for Commissioner because he’s not part of the good old boys club. Moreover, it will never happen as long as the current DG is in that post. Just look at what’s happening under his watch.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just note that Anthony Ennis has been Deputy Commissioner thoughout, is that a post of convenience that carries no responsibility? This is across the whole command team of the RCIPS, not one man.

      • Anonymous says:

        Deputy Ennis will never be considered because he doesn’t ever apply for the job, dufus. He’s much too smart to open himself up to the jibes of these hidjuts we have in the LA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just this once can we please hold someone responsible?
      One Time cayman. Mr premier? If no one on this god forsaken island knows how to own up, please show them how. Just this one time. For a brighter tomorrow.

  23. Anonymous says:

    For Gods sake please stop blaming Caymanians for everything except your pay checks. These anonymous accusing Caymanians for covering up don’t realize that there are few Caymanian Police. What they should be checking is the Police responsible . If we don’t get over this Caymanian bashing things will never be better. Also for the record Caymanians do respect any respectful resident s of this Country. I for one do and also call a spade a spade. I finance a very lovely Jamaican who has returned home every month and found her to be a honest hard working and law abiding person. So please lets respect the spoon that feeds you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please spare us your self righteous “spoon that feeds” crap. When will the Fundamentalists book out the Lions Center to discuss the sexual and physical violence against our women and children? Political corruption and cronyism? Narco gangs and Cayman’s transshipment economy? What is the date of that meeting?!?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry, but in all the comments I’ve read there isn’t ONE post blaming Caymanians for this?? Bringing up your usual arguments on a story as sad as this is crass at best and destructive at worse. Go to bed and sober up

  24. Anonymous says:

    And in a related development, Arrogant Alden and Haughty Helen issued a joint statement this afternoon in defence of Dear David which reads:
    . . . . . . . . . . .

  25. Anonymous says:

    Was there some legal bar to the prosecutor calling all those relatives as witnesses even if they hadn’t been interviewed,? I meam, why not? How could it have made the case worse? You might have gotten a lot of “didn’t see nuthin'” but someone might have backed the poor girl up. There is no excuse for the prosecutors to keep taking cases to trial that are hopeless losers, especially when one assumes the prosecutor could have asked the police to at least interview the relatives even if it was 4 years after the fact. What am I missing here? How can so many different people all fail to do their jobs on this one case? Hey, Governor and FCO–you control the hiring and firing of all these people. What’s the deal?

    • Anonymous says:

      2:37 Sadly the “didn’t see nuthin” mentality would have prevailed. Systematic child abuse and spousal abuse has been going on here for decades. Everyone knows who is (or in some cases was because they’ve passed away now) involved but nobody does a damn thing about it.

      RCIPS try to bury it. Does anyone remember the initiative by Angelique Howell to raise awareness of child abuse in 2007? I somehow doubt it because it was killed off almost before it got started.

      The church leaders and the politicians turn a blind eye to it, possibly because for some of them the problem is a little bit too close to home.

      And as for the rest of the permanent population? It’s simply something they either don’t believe is happening or don’t feel comfortable talking about.

      This is a ticking time bomb, as a number of celebrities in the UK have recently found out, and when it eventually goes off we’ll be talking about something a lot worse than ‘gross incompetence’.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hell, there’s a retired politition that took a shot at his wife some years ago on New Year’s Day.

  26. Anonymous says:

    What I can’t understand is why when this file was sent to the DPP, why she see couldn’t see that this case wasn’t investigated properly and instruct them to do so???? The DPP should have been able to see that they couldn’t possibly get a conviction because of the poor investigators. Aye bobo what a mess we in.

  27. MM says:

    I am almost speechless and damn-near tearful about this!

    This is a disgrace, an absolute shame, EVERY officer that touched one sheet of paper during this process and case should be fired!!!

    XXXX What a mess this place is in! I could not imagine if the island was any larger! You can almost spit from one district to the next and we have crime, rapist, corruption and all the rest of it here as if the population was 500,000! Geesh

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right and the blasted DPP office is doing absolutely nothing. Why can’t the government/ governor or whoever is responsible for the DPP Fire the bunch of them and start from scratch. This is ridiculous .

  28. Anonymous says:

    Shocking. There are a lot of incompetent officers hidden by ridiculous allegations of race or national bias by the barrack room lawyers amongst the RCIPS assisted by the “Welfare Association”.

  29. Mokes-for-all says:

    Where is The Star Chamber when you need it? (If you don’t know the reference, Google it).

  30. Anonymous says:

    And they acquitted the potential scum bags. I bet if they were accused of possessing cocaine with intent to supply that the RCIPS would have conveniently found the paperwork as well as expedited the process. Idiots.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The [police] omitted to protect a young girl who will now be messed up for the rest of her life. Another great job by the almost illiterate RCIPS

    • Anonymous says:

      The RCIP should be one of the star dept. Aftr all it was lead by a UK Commissioner who the Governor and Deputy Governor looks to as the saviours to our islands. They are joined by our so-called Premier who went public accusing the Opposition and Independent politicians for leaving the country’s Police Service without a head when they took their motion to the house. I am yet to hear this Premier defend a single dept head that is or was lead by a Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Family Support Unit of the RCIPS is the most incompetent of the entire force! The Detective who attended the first report of this case is a joke and a complete waste of a pay check – he should be fired immediately! He is on his phone constantly, completely unaware of his surroundings. You could probably slap his face and he wouldn’t see it coming!

  32. Veritas says:

    In Britain there are many cases of child abuse which date back 20 or 30 years which are successfully prosecuted so I don’t understand the verdict of this UK judge.

    • Anonymous says:

      They were reported historically not at the time. It’s all about an abuse of processes and a failure to,act in a timely manner.

    • Anonymous says:

      The issue isn’t that the alleged abuse took place four years or more ago but that it took four years from the girl reporting it to then go to trial. In the u.k if a girl was to report she was being abused by a relative I can assure you it wouldn’t take take nearly two years before anybody bothered interviewing the accused ! …this is unbelievable.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Who is ready to bet me that no adult will suffer any consequence for not investigating this matter when it should have been investigaed?

    Another example of Caymanian cover up and corruption!

    Yes, David Legge was correct, the Cayman Islands is corrupt to the core.

    Much now rests on the sholders of the new Anti-Corruption Commissioners to do the job that that commision has never done since its inception and government has never funded so that it can do its job.

    • Anonymous says:

      But it’s not corruption, it’s laziness and incompetence by so-called cops who are utter fools. And nothing will happen to them over this, nothing at all.

      • Anonymous says:

        and exactly how do YOU know that it’s not corruption??? It could just as easily be corruption as it isn’t. “Don’t worry Cousin Bobo, I seem to have lost the interview notes, all is good”

        • Anonymous says:

          There are hardly any cousin bobo in the RCIP now. Try blaming some other bobo. Could be a distance cousin from across the pond or up a yard!! Sad all around..

  34. Anonymous says:

    Heads should roll for this, completely inexcusable and compounds the concerns we all have around the Police and corruption.

    • Anonymous says:

      heads don’t roll in the civil service!….they are more likely to get awards and pay rises…..
      civil service…..overstaffed, underworked, over paid, underperforming….

      • Anonymous says:

        (civil service…..overstaffed, underworked, over paid, underperforming….)
        Correction on above – civil servants are understaffed, overworked, underpaid which cause them to underperform. Not making excuses fòr them in regards to above slackness.

        This child have been scared for life. I don’t like boxing bread out of anyones mouth, but all involved don’t deserve to eat.. double *kmt*

        Dear child involved, I wish to apologise to you. Not all adults are so lazy and inconsiderate to your feelings. Please seek advice that you can move on with your life and live to your full potential that God has put you on this earth to accomplish.

      • Anonymous says:

        And possibly a nice deal by transferring the person to a UK Office to represent the country! What on earth has the Civik Service come to! It is in desperate need of an intelligent and proven leader with the relevant skill sets. I strongly recommend that we import a UK Expert to help us out of the mess we are in.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Do I read it right? They have been acquitted??? Oh, my…

    • This is horrible. How can parents show such indifference towards their baby girl? The police also let her down badly. The child cannot be expected to remember the details of something I am sure she wish would have never happen in the first place, especially after such a long time.
      What the hell is more important in these homes than properly looking after their children. This is just another example of deterioration of family values. My children are all grown with kids of their own and I would still try to protect all of them until I draw my last breath by whatever means necessary.

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