Doctors Express tab will cost public purse

| 16/02/2021 | 100 Comments
Cayman News Service
James Austin-Smith, the lawyer representing Doctors Express

(CNS): The end result of the unlawful drug raid at Doctors Express by customs and police officers will likely end with a significant tab that will be picked up by the public purse. Even before a court rules on reputational damages and business losses, the private clinic will be claiming “significant costs” as a result of the enforced litigation bill and the damaged medicinal cannabis products that were illegally seized, their lawyer has said.

The doctors’ surgery, which is managed by Caymanian director Samuel Banks, is now awaiting another court hearing to deal with the next stage in this well documented case, in which a judge ruled that the authorities had targeted and colluded in an illegal raid at the clinic. But attorney James Austin-Smith of Campbells, who is representing Doctors Express, has warned that the tab for this case will not be small.

Outlining the issues, Austin-Smith said he could not give a figure because a judge would need to rule on it but said it would be “a very significant amount indeed”. He said he was sorry that he could not be more specific and that he appreciated the public interest in the amount, since it would be the public purse that footed the bill in the end for the unlawful actions by public officials.

Although the government actors in this case, including the chief medical officer and the attorney general, were all found to be culpable in this abuse of state power against a medical practice, a week after the damning ruling was made public, no one has apologised yet to the owner or the doctors.

Austin-Smith said he could not give a figure for damages that Doctors Express would be seeking or comment on how the judge might approach this next part of the case. However, he stressed that the chain of events that led to the unlawful raid, the seizure and retention of the medical supplies and then the lengthy and complex litigation were all down to the authorities.

Austin-Smith said he was not in a position to comment on the legal implications for the individual public officials and government agencies that acted unlawfully in this case, such as those who colluded in the plan to seize the pharmaceutical cannabis, or the perjury that took place as the case reached the courts. But he said that he had now written to the director of public prosecutions about the case, outlining the criminal complaint.

While the case has been a very difficult one for the doctors and their patients, who suffered after they were deprived of a successful and safe alternative treatment to the addictive and dangerous pharmaceuticals they had taken previously, Austin-Smith said that it also demonstrated that the judicial system works and that no one is above the law.

Nevertheless, the raid caused suffering to the patients who were using the pharmaceutical grade cannabis. Among the statements submitted in the case, one doctor testified how a patient was using the vaped cannabis during cancer treatment because she was unable to consume the oil. She had suffered significantly when she could no longer access the seized product and had died during the litigation period.

While the judge has issued a damning and detailed ruling setting out a catalogue of wrongdoing by officials, so far no one involved has admitted any liability or culpability. And despite the findings, supported by overwhelming evidence, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has suggested that there could still be an appeal.

Read the full judgment in the CNS Library.

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Category: Crime, Health, Medical Health

Comments (100)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Imagine the public relations nightmare this will be for who is tasked with the cleanup.

  2. 2021 Voter says:

    Why in the world would our DG try and appeal this when you need to try and cut your loss Fire these senior very incompetent officers who muck this very embarrassing situation up wid Dey Law digrees and try and put this behind us and give a public apology to Doctors Express and simply move on .This situation of senior officials increasing their already inflated salaries behind closed doors is troubling though in light of all that is occurring .But nothing this very inept government does these days is surprising!

  3. Rainbow Squobs says:

    Wow increased their salaries to match their inflated ego’s Wow yet not a single word of this in the public domain in a time where people are without jobs this CBC senior leadership who are doing less than the frontline staff are increasing their salaries?? WTF ! They Got To !! DG you got to do better than this bro ?? Now they costing the government millions for their illegal search warrants with more law degrees than Quakers have Oats! .

  4. Liars still working says:

    The government surely doesn’t need this BS right now with an election looming but no surprise the sinister players now at CBC have no decency or integrity and frankly it has just been a matter time before the shit hit the fan’ Some at the very top have been ignoring the signs and having too many buddie buddie drinks at Mango Tree with our political leadership!

  5. Blue Smoke says:

    One corruption fiasco to next! when exactly is this shit going stop mann???? Poor old Roper trying hard to hold Alden and Franz mess together! i don’t envy you sir!

  6. SMG says:

    We the Caymanian people are calling on the UK to please come and sort this mess out at CBC before it gets out of hand. We do not want the CBC to end up like the RCIPS Which is a complete Joke!and is filled with no Cayman residents. We cannot afford certain nationalities to have control of our borders that will bring even bigger problems than we already have. Fix this crap now Governor Roper!Put the senior management on required leave and bring in some advisors to hash out the issues and those who need to be removed put them out or transfer them elsewhere.

  7. Cookie Lander says:

    Do the right ting Franz! Resign old buddie Resign !! you had a good run resign and run for the west bay seat of your mentor Bababuskya! Let the UK clear up that CBC lodge mess on Airport road Bo!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another expensive pay-off by CIG, caused by inept persons acting beyond their capabilities. Joins the numerous malpractice payouts by HSA, pay-offs to civil servants forced to resign, etc., etc., etc.!

    Not to mention the constant wastage of public funds throughout the CS and SAGCs!


  9. Anonymous says:

    The courts will address this in due course.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh my word!
    just in time with the Election.
    Now cast your votes right.

  11. Miss G says:

    Chuckie better get rid of the brothers Grim and their hoodlums before they drag him down too . This mess was not a one off or foreseen. Infact it was inevitable knowing the history and their track record and list of unsavory and unlawful accomplishments that they have been mixed up in over the years. But both you an our illustrious Deputy Governor knew that now did you not . but still you flirted with disaster to detriment of us all. please act Governor Roper for once do your job!

  12. Tap Out says:

    Resign Franz Resign ! only a fool would appeal this rubbish and the next one in the worx is going to break CBC into pieces!

  13. Cottage Cheese says:

    Look at those incharge at CBC What have they ever done but F#@&% the system for decent people and yet Franz the all wise DG Cant seem to get his head out of his ass! or is he complicit? In any case this such a travesty of justice and should not be ignored. We need some good Brits to move in and fix this before it becomes a real problem and before certain elements bring their loyal Caribbean henchmen to Run Tings!

  14. Fonz says:

    This just another big fiasco attributed to this government and the inept imbeciles it has in its senior ranks . Who have been promoted to upper level of their incompetence. Poor old Franz just can’t get decent help these days eh? Stuck with the same old hands wake up buddie its 2021

    • Anonymous says:

      Poor ole Franz is a big part of the problem. His ever faithful disciples frequently tell him nonsense and he believes it without fact checking.

      • Anonymous says:

        He does not have enough sense to check.

        • Anonymous says:

          1:55 He’s just another case of a senior public servant with apparently impressive legal or other qualifications but no real experience to back them up. I worked with a former MLA who has an MBA but still couldn’t organise the proverbial booze up in a brewery.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Senior ranks secretly increased their salaries in January and hid the information at end of a gazette. That is their main focus not being good stewards.

      • Anonymous says:


        Now that is a new one. Hide by publishing in the gazette

        Clearly the silly season has begun.

        • Anonymous says:

          It was only published because it had to be legally. The hiding part is burying it in the post-holiday dead news cycle, not announcing it, the raises for some grades being 15% increases, not tied to the cost of living, not equitably distributed amongst the service, not justified by any particular rationale, not explained to the public, and done at a time of financial restraint otherwise. Those are the objectionable aspects of the raises, and it is entirely valid to ask those question. It can be hiding to publish something in the Gazette if that is all you do when you would be expected to do much more.

  15. Kman says:

    So will DG Manderson aka Kobbla do the right thing and step down? He’s had enough scandals since he’s been DG and shown on numerous occasions a serious lack of judgement and leadership. Med Director Lee should also consider his position.

    • Alfredo hernandez says:

      Kman. I don’t think you are referring to Cayman’s Deputy Governor.

      You must be confused.

    • Proudcivilservant says:

      Kman. I particularly like these scandals.

      Public Accounts Committee awards the civil service for achieving unqualified options in their financial statements.

      Record number of Caymamians trained and promoted within the civil service.

      Civil service 2nd Chance program allows Caymamians with a criminal record to gain employment.

      Yeah let’s keep the scandals going.

      Jealousy is such a horrible thing.

      Why don’t you list your achievements.

  16. Michel Lemay says:

    As I read these interesting comments including many that make sense, i could not help but think that not one single person is willing to sign their name. How do you ever expect anything to change or hold persons accountable ?. Like blowing air into the wind in my humble opininion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because if you mention your name they can and do destroy you.

    • Catcha Fire says:

      Dearest Lemay you get a government job or business and then start posting adverse or wise comments and see what happens. The winds will soon turn fowl and super heated so hot it will burn the very hair and skin off you and any family or friends in fact anyone remotely connected you. Its call victimization Michel please do knock CNS beautiful forum which offers input to all without retribution and trust me when i tell any exposure to light of these cockroaches causes them to change course and accountability gets jerked from hands those who jobs it is to act thus forcing them to CYA and thereby laying at least the blame on someone.So pleeease do not destroy or belief and hope with your pessimistic post !

      • Michel Lemay says:

        That is very sad Catcha Fire to live in fear like that. I tought dem days were past. So the majority is controlled by the few. BTW not blaming CNS. Just saying how do you make anyone accountable ?

    • NO name needed but if you care to know, my initials are NYFB says:

      And what exactly does that accomplish other than losing one’s employment and/or not being hired, being kicked off the island, being targeted by the authorities, the police, the Crown, etc., and/or being targeted by a person, his/her cronies, and/or friends, etc.

      A good start is to vote out the useless politicians. You don’t have to disclose your name doing so, yet it seems you can’t even do that properly. You think that signing your name underneath a comment in an electronic comment section of an online newspaper is going to change the world? GTFO.

      How about you start with voting out the corrupt politicians, and then demand change from the new ones. Hold a few nation-wide (should not be all that hard) walkouts, labour disruptions, etc., like the French, and the Italians, etc. do. Until then, don’t risk your family’s safety and/or livelihood by attaching your name to your comment. CNS was right to allow this section to be anonymous – there’s a good reason for that.

      • Michel Lemay says:

        NYFB( interesting initials) you are right and hope you get your vote right and i’ll try my best to pick mine. I will continue to sign my name however.

  17. Anonymous says:

    There should be an investigation into the grossly incompetent pension funds with overcharging 1.5%+ annual fees that a nutless ape could do. Those absolute POS are making millions for doing nothing and grossly underperforming the markets.
    There should be another pension fund withdrawal!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Fired or change the leadership at CBC now before this cancer spreads!

  19. Pillow Talk says:

    Poor old Franz how can our DG fly like and Eagle when he is surrounded by a bunch of a Turkeys ??? Well you can’t say you weren’t warned ? Appeal ! WTF! Boss cut your losses and get an NDA bro leave Chuckie and his inept entourage to destroy CBC just like they did the RCIPs until they were overthrown by their own hired help from the Southeast. Soo Come CBC the great architect will soon bring his friends from a yard too no worries!

  20. The unjust shall not go unpunished says:

    It’s time all those at the very top be removed they where like a cancer in the RCIPs and instead of the great Franz dealing with it there he has simply moved them to another law enforcement area to infect and spread their cancer there C B. C is in a real shambles and now the personal Harem of the leadership where inappropriate office relationships abound and misconduct and favoritism is destroying all the positive strides and morale. Yet our great DG is talking about an appeal to save his own disastrous decisions and failure to heed warnings. He just doesn’t get it does he ? but both you and our great leader and your associates need to pay these people their money! Yes and trying to throw others of junior rank under the bus for the actions of the inept and incompetent and corrupt leadership is like spraying perfume on shit. Yes and dear Mr Franz what is happening to those CBC officers in the same pharmacy CBD oil business no conflict there I guess or are you just like our dear governor too, who cannot see the forest for the trees.

  21. Anonymous says:


  22. Anonymous says:

    I predict that damages will be several millions. Doctors and reputational damage. Government lawyers who dealt with this failed to comprehend that not settling would be more costly than settling this case. They played not only with the livelihood of doctors but disrupted the treatment of patients. The sheer callousness of this case boggles my mind.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Government should appeal. It’s not as cut and dried as many CNS followers would like to believe.

  24. Ambidextrous says:

    Mr. Clifford, I can’t fathom for one iota of a second, that you made such a faux pas based on your extensive police and legal background. Your ego must have gotten the best of you. How could you
    not seek legal advice and or simply ascertain that all licenses are in place? You must have acted as your own attorney. That you are simply unstoppable? The local sheriff?

    So now the public purse will have to suffer because of your actions.

    At this point, I think you either remain defiant that you did no wrong, or simply have no remorse for your wrong doing. To salvage any remnants of your integrity, you would have tendered your resignation.

    I simply can’t see how you should be left in this position, as you will struggle with providing leadership.

  25. Anonymous says:

    It’s despicable that patients had to suffer because of a few ignorant, power hungry individuals. They obviously never had a family member or friend who benefited from the perfectly legal meds as approved by legislators.

    • Apellant says:

      To all the legal minds on this forum: I would like to know how to appeal perjury.
      I did read that some of the accused “perjured” themselves. The judge was not very subtle in his remarks. Please help

  26. Anonymous says:

    Clinical Trial: Whole-Plant Cannabis Extracts Associated with Improved Outcomes in Autistic Patients
    Jerusalem, Israel: The oral administration of plant-derived cannabis extracts is well-tolerated and reduces disruptive behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to clinical trial data published in the journal Molecular Autism.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Everyone else might as well grab a piece as this administration dies.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The country can’t have people of questionable integrity in senior government positions. All involved should be allowed to exhaust all avenues of appeal. If the verdict is the same at the end of the appeals process then resignations need to be forthcoming.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Given the misconduct and the failure to disclose vital evidence, I expect indemnity cots are in order – even more expensive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Indemnity costs will not even be a scratch on the surface of what Doctors Express is entitled to.

  30. Anonymous says:

    What was the real reason for the raid? Powers that be wanted full run of the market?

    • Anonymous says:

      Nah – that wouldn’t explain why the importation and prescription of cannabis had been legalized in the first place.

      Guessing that some people didn’t like Doctors Express making it obvious that it was legal and that CBC had allowed the importation, so decided to “do something” to show CBC was protecting God fearing values – much like they decided to raid the personal massage devices. They found a willing ally in Dr Lee, who had a personal issue with vaping and thought this was a good gateway to getting vaping banned or at least putting the fear of God into vape suppliers, irrespective of the fact that he had authorised the importation of the cannabis oil in the vapes and didn’t actually believe vaping the stuff was particularly dangerous. Basically a group of people who power deciding to exercise their personal beliefs over what the law should be as opposed to what it was.

  31. Anonymous says:

    James Austin-Smith for an OBE

  32. Anonymous says:

    Apologize?? they should have all been fired as soon as the case was over..

    Only in Cayman!

  33. Big Poppa says:

    Bonehead comment of the day goes to our very own nice guy, Big Up Franz Mandersssssonn, Mandersssssssin. Franz, you and your cronies just got your a$$ handed to you, tbe world is speaking of big payouts (huge settlement which will you and your cronies will sweep under the rug and not disclose to the public) and somehow you have this brilliant (idiotic in most places) notion to threaten (that’s exactly what you did) an appeal. An appeal so you can get your a$$ handed to you twice over. Lesson for all kids growing up, when idiotic, bordering on criminal decisions are made, double down on them when found guilty. Do not apologize, do not recant, just double up the dosage of idiocy. And, whilst at it, give yourselves a raise.

    • Anonymous says:

      Note sure you can say its bordering on criminal when you obtain a warrant under false pretenses, or lie to the court. That’s more than a little across the border.

      • Big Poppa says:

        Agreed. I was being overly polite. The Justice clearly pointed out that the parties involved, among other things, perverted the course of justice. Question is, who is watching the Watchers? The parties involved ought to all be charged – hard thing to do when the AG is one of them.

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s clearly learned absolutely nothing from the Tempura/Henderson fiasco.

  34. Anonymous says:

    wonder what happened to the glass house “mold” suit???

  35. Anonymous says:

    Great work James, whilst any financial award will clearly be of huge benefit to your client, I’d suggest a combination of financial reward and the immediate resignation of all the clowns involved in granting this raid in the first instance as compensation.

    • anon says:

      2.42pm Are lawyers here allowed to agree a fee based on a percentage of the legal damages awarded as in the U.S.?.

  36. Anonymous says:

    the rule of law applies….i love these islands for having such a high confidence in our judiciary…i a caymanian…this should teach the govt a lesson…

  37. Anonymous says:

    there should be a class action suit taken by the residents of cayman against cig and the civil service for gross incompetence on a variety of issues.

  38. Anonymous says:

    it’s one thing to make a mistake but for these people to knowingly try to circumvent the law to please a few religious zealots should be grounds for immediate termination and expose them to being sued to recoup some of this money that we the people of this Island have to pay. this is absolute BS.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Your Excellency – what’s the UK got to say about corruption in the OTs?

    • Anonymous says:

      “It is not tolerated. Our robust law enforcers operate at the highest standards. The crime situation is stable. Our civil service operates at world class standards.”

      Bla Bla.Bla

      ….no one has even apologized? Not only are they potentially dishonest, they are arseholes.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s good governance..doesn’t break any “rule of law.” I don’t get involved in domestic affairs…


  40. Anonymous says:

    This is an opportune time to reschedule Cannabis and its derivates. We know that Tobacco and alcohol are the seriously dangerous drugs.

  41. Anonymous says:

    AG in this situation. Not the first time!?!?

  42. Anonymous says:

    “…no one has apologised yet to the owner or the doctors…” This speaks volumes about the defendants.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I hope Doctor’s Express takes them to the cleaners! This Banana Republic needs to pay somehow for all the crap they pull and get away with. Payouts just seem to be a cost of doing business for the government.

    A truly World Class Civil Service Franz! I bet you’ll live to regret that slogan. What a joke.

    • Anonymous says:

      …. problem is “we” the people are the public purse.

      Never ceases to amaze me – the chasm of disconnect between the people’s of these islands and the abuse/misuse/squandering and worse of the public funds. Because most monies come directly and indirectly from foreign financial services and we don’t pay income tax – there is NEVER the accountability for wrong doing public and civil servants that one sees in the “real” world.

      Anywhere else, these people would be walked out. Not here. Our public money will be used to paper over the incompetence, as usual, and things will a gowan. Sad.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t we all wish JAS’s words were true, but the fact remains that there are many political and judicial officials in Cayman who openly operate on a super-majestic basis without any concern for the law or what are often costly miscalculations. It’s implausible that JAS has forgotten that even scarred from his front row seat on the HRC.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think those shouldn’t be one in the same when talking about a public officer lying to courts to appease his handlers??

  45. Anonymous says:

    Heads should roll but they won’t that is the real Caymankind

    • Anonymous says:

      The members in the elected arm of government and the higher echelons of the CIG are far more interested in protecting their own ivory towers and setting themselves up financially than having to deal with this thorny issue. Their leadership is non-existent and no-one will be fired. Also, the AG’s Chambers continually never cease to amaze as they make a pig’s ear of everything that they touch.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Heads that need to roll…. Chuckie, Dr Lee, Head of DPP, Attorney General. These muppets will cost us more money than most will ever see.

  47. Anonymous says:

    The tab will have to be huge In order to pay the lawyers. No joke.

    I hope though that the government officers involved learn the quintessential lesson—you are ultimately public servants and paid for that role.

    Take a leaf out of Fauci’s book—his willingness to stick his neck out and speak truth to power has made him a huge winner—he has now been awarded a prize of one million dollars for doing just that. What’s more. He kept his job, retained the confidence of the US and global community and still sleep well at nights no doubt. He retained a clean conscience.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fauci, yeah right.

    • Anonymous says:

      I never understand how you people try to compare this Banana Republic to the USA. There is NOTHING comparable.
      And don’t forget that Fauci was very wishy washy in the beginning. Said masks were not necessary. Don’t believe me? You can check it on YouTube. He ended up having to backtrack on many things in January/March.
      So what were you saying about him?? LOL And comparing him to Dr Lee, why?
      Wonder if Fauci ever.. well..

      • Anonymous says:

        Because no one really knew wtf was going on in the beginning. But apparently you had alllll the foresight?

        • Anonymous says:

          Uh… THAT IS HIS JOB!
          Uh, yes, it was indeed discussed everywhere. (not in Cayman idiot) Italy knew. Many other countries KNEW. The need for masks discussed meanwhile worn many other countries! Better get your story straight!
          That was FOUCI’s ONLY JOB!
          Then went backtracking and floundering. Where were you?? Here? In Grand Cayman? Where you think you know everything?

      • Anonymous says:

        he said masks were not mandatory because there was a shortage and it was important to make sure the healthcare workers had access to them to stop them dying trying to treat patience. He has explained this publicly.

      • We compare cause we can says:

        America is nothing more than a slightly more developed India.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Of course they are all above the law. None of those most culpable will suffer any personal detriment. The only people who will suffer are the patients who will have endured unnecessary pain and the public who will foot the bill. Nevertheless, Doctor’s Express deserve every penny they will get. The facts set out in the judgment are shocking, but sadly were entirely foreseeable. Too many in the civil service have been openly acting outside the law, and constitution, for years. Thank heavens someone had the financial ability and testicular fortitude to seek justice. Too many cannot access appropriate remedies. When will government learn?

  49. Anonymous says:

    Time to sweep this under the rug as quickly and quietly as possible.


    • Anonymous says:

      I foresee a massive settlement to avoid further argument, but one with a strict non disclosure agreement attached to it.

      • nauticalone345 says:

        Note: It has only ever been Mr. Miller of North Side who has called for these “non-disclosure” settlements by CIG to cease! All other powers are always and notably, unusually quiet on the issue.

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