Dr Lee in denial over court findings

| 10/02/2021 | 173 Comments
Cayman News Service
CMO Dr John Lee

(CNS): Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee has claimed that he had acted in what he believed to be the best interests of the public, despite the findings of the judge in the Doctors Express case, Justice Robin McMillan, who said he acted improperly and knew it. “At all material times I acted in good faith in the public interest for the protection of Public Health,” Dr Lee said Tuesday.

The short statement was issued following the publication of the damning ruling in the case, which concluded that the raid on Doctors Express to seize their lawful medicinal cannabis products was illegal and those involved acted with improper motive, including Dr Lee.

In the release, the CMO pointed to evidence given by another witness who had said his cease notice to the clinic was a “necessary response to a potential serious risk to public health”. However, this contradicts Dr Lee’s own admissions that he knew there was no risk to anyone’s health posed by the products that Doctors Express had legally imported into the Cayman Islands.

The judge said there was no basis in fact or in law for Dr Lee to issue the stop notice, which in any event was never served on Doctors Express until the raid. Justice McMillan also said the CMO acted for an improper purpose and there was no reasonable basis to issue the notice, noting that correspondence between Dr Lee and other parties demonstrated quite clearly that he did not think there was one either.

Dr Lee, who has become a famous face in Cayman for his role in steering the country through the COVID-19 pandemic, was recently awarded an OBE. But it is apparent from the evidence in this long case, and as outlined by the judge, that Dr Lee’s role in this case raised significant questions of integrity.

The CMO is the first person to respond to the case and the shocking conclusions by the judge that the authorities effectively colluded and targeted a private medical clinic and unlawfully seized their legal medications in the middle of the afternoon when patients were being treated.

CNS contacted Deputy Governor Franz Manderson about the implications for those civil servants involved in the case who the judge said acted based on improper motives. In a brief preliminary response he told us that, given the length of the ruling, he was still in the process of going through it very carefully.

“Once I have completed that exercise, I will consider what steps, if any, should be taken in relation to any of the officers identified by the Court who were involved in the matter and fall within my remit,” he said. “As the Head of the Civil Service, I will look into any serious adverse views made by the Court against civil servants but at all times, I am bound to abide by the principles of lawful administration which include natural justice, reasonableness and fairness. I will therefore not be making any assumptions about any officer or officers and acting on same, simply based on the ruling.”

Manderson added, “Notwithstanding the Court’s views, I am confident that public trust in the civil service and its core values will not be undermined by the outcome of this case. That said, I believe in constantly examining the delivery of our services to our clients to see where we can improve. Lessons learned from this case will certainly form part of that exercise moving forward.”

He also revealed that was “also the possibility of an appeal”, despite the judge’s comments in the ruling about the government’s decision to pursue this case in the first place and whether it truly understood the seriousness of the case made by Doctors Express.

Justice McMillan had questioned the way that the Attorney General’s Chambers had handled this case in the first place and why, given all of the evidence, it had made it to the court. The judge questioned whether the government’s lawyers who were representing customs, the police and the CMO had ever come to terms with “the breadth of the case made against them”. He also found that the attorney general’s counsel made “highly implausible”, even “false and dangerous”, submissions.

See the full judgment in the CNS Library.

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Category: Courts, Health, health and safety

Comments (173)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This was an unfortunate situation that shouldn’t have happened and luckily the court has put it right and given Doctors Express justice. Dr Lee is still a Caymanian hero for saving is from the pandemic though!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m real sick of this. When are politicians going to wake up and legalise it. Surely it doesn’t cause the same amount of deaths as cigarettes or alcohol. Better yet it causes NONE. Also, ever see a person smoke the herb and slap their spouse up and down? No. But surely red stripe does. Cigarettes are also a good way to end up on dialysis, given that it contributes to kidney failure (proven by studies of those who smoke cigarettes in contrast to a sample that doesn’t).

    Man us Caymanians are behind the times and it’s surely disgraceful. You have a problem with herbs but don’t mind cigarettes that are pumped with hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, ammonia and radioactive elements e.g. polonium-210? (Source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/tobacco-and-cancer/carcinogens-found-in-tobacco-products.html)

    We really are behind the times.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Leave a Google Review under CBC, post and share on social media along with any other platforms. We cannot be silenced. This is disgraceful and unless we protest, nothing will happen.

    Alcohol and cigarettes kill. They’re both implicated in a number of serious health issues, yet it is legal. The world is evolving and the view on cannabis must be changed.

    • Anonymous says:

      You know it’s messed up when someone is sentenced to 2-5 years for possession and a rapist will get a slap on the wrist

  4. Anonymous says:

    Leave Dr. lee alone!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Tell me this. If this is what we know, then what do we not know? What can we gather from what’s out there? Who are the players that can be identified?

    Seems that the players may at least some of these people:

    1. Charles Clifford
    2. Dr. John Lee
    3. Attorney General
    4. Alden McLaughlin
    5. RCIPS
    6. Roper
    7. Franz Manderson
    8. Ministry of Health – not sure Jon Jon involved
    9. DPP – inaction unacceptable
    10. Unity government – inaction

    Where else have we seen apparent close working relationships? Are any private organizations being given unfavorable power and control? What favoritism to wealthy individuals or companies?

    • Anonymous says:

      Wonder what scheme the Attorney General is thinking of now with the Premier, Chief Medical Officer, Charles Clifford, Governor Roper, RCIPS and those within the AG’s Chambers.

      The Unity Government is riddled with scandals, conspiracies, collusion and apparent fraud. How can these parties face the public with a straight face. Only sociopaths and psychopaths, who have no empathy, are able to do that with confidence.

      It’s time for voters to clean house. And, if democracy cannot reign free, it might be time for a period of direct rule to clean house. Are we a communist jurisdiction posing as a democracy? Seems so, but what do you think?

      • Anonymous says:

        When mortals act immortal, this is what happens. Waiting for it all to come to light.

        Doubt they have a clue what is right around the corner. Let’s see who absconds.

        Time of demise is coming so soon.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bunch of hypocripts. Couple of months ago Dr Lee was the greatest thung in the world. Oh thank god for Dr Lee! Even gave him a bong. Sorry i meant a medal for being so great! Lol

    • Anonymous says:

      Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing..All that glitters is not gold!

      This is what happens when we idolize a person just for doing his job.

      No one is perfect, even Dr. Lee but lying to a court of law is a criminal offense. Both he and the Attorney General together with the head of the CBC should be charged with these criminals offenses…but we live in Cayman so that will never happen..

  7. Button killa says:

    Time to jail and fire all those involved with this terrible injustice and appalling misconduct by senior CBC an Government officials! This is an indictment of alden’s criminal mob and his mentor and facilitator roper!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I believe that taking from the rich and giving to the poor is in the best interest of the public. It is however illegal and unethical so I would not even give it a second thought.

    Dr. Lee needs to hire a lawyer and refrain from making any more statements on this issue.

  9. Anonymous says:

    2 suggestions for government that will likely be ignored;

    1) Hire 2-3 more experienced magistrates to deal with all warrant applications. That would be far less expensive than the recurrent multi-million dollar payouts resulting from unlawful warrants issued JPs that are not legally qualified. Ending the practice of having JPs issue warrants would also greatly enhance the administration of justice.

    2) End the practice of allowing non-legally qualified department heads/chief officers/politicians to decide which legal fights to get into. Instead hire a suitably qualified legal professional to manage the government’s legal risks. That would reduce costs and enhance the administration of justice as well.

    • Hafoo says:

      Thats the job of the AG.He should be advising the Govt.But as we all know,he is not working too hard in that well paid job.

    • Anonymous says:

      This case is a mirror image of the Justice Henderson one. The CBC didn’t go to a JP for a warrant because they couldn’t get a judge. They didn’t want a judge because they knew damn well they would get one. So they carefully chose a JP who wouldn’t ask questions and just give them what they wanted. Shades of the illegal Henderson warrant all over again. And the result will be the same no doubt – whopping damages settlement.

    • Anonymous says:

      Charles Clifford has a law degree and holds himself out to be legally trained. He was the engineer of this whole travesty. So, your second suggestion, even if followed, wouldn’t apply in this case.

      Just because someone has legal training doesn’t mean that their god complex will be reined in.

      Chuckle is going to find himself on the business-end of a civil lawsuit by Doctors Express. In the meantime, he should be removed from his position so he can’t do any more damage.

      • Anonymous says:

        9:45 There’s a big difference between getting a law degree and understanding (or should that be respecting?) the law as demonstrated by several of our politicians and senior civil servants in the past.

  10. Anonymous says:

    A lack of understanding of our law and an absence of understanding of the limits of the authority given to civil servants by our law is probably the norm rather than the exception.

    The practice of sending untrained juniors out to exercise legal power that they have no understanding of is also the norm.

    Other countries provide civil servants with instruction on what the relevant law is before sending them out to deprive citizens of their rights. Maybe we should try that.

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