Legal exec acquitted in corruption case

| 02/08/2021 | 25 Comments

(CNS): An 18-year veteran of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) was acquitted on Friday of one count of breach of trust after a seven-week trial. Evita Ann Dixon (38) had worked as a legal executive in the legal department and the ODPP for almost two decades but was accused in 2019 of trying to hide a file that related to the arrest of her son for possession of ganja. But it took a jury of four men and two women less than three hours to find her not guilty.

Dixon had denied the accusation from the moment she was accused and throughout a long drawn out anti-corruption investigation. She continued to deny it through the trial, in which she said she believed she had been set up in order to get rid of her.

During the course of the trial testimony was given about the change in atmosphere at the office after the former DPP, Cheryll Richards, left to become a Grand Court judge and Patrick Moran, her deputy, was appointed as the director. A number of witnesses, including Dixon, spoke about the emergence of racial discrimination in the office between some white prosecutors and the local and Caribbean staff. The jurors heard that an audit had been ordered in the office earlier this year following an allegation made by a prosecutor based on that discrimination.

Shortly after that audit was ordered, Moran resigned. The governor’s office released a statement on Friday confirming that Governor Martyn Roper had ordered this audit, which he said was in “response to a serious allegation of perceived racial discrimination”. He said the Government’s Internal Audit Service (IAS) had undertaken “a full and immediate investigation” at his request.

“The IAS has completed its work and concluded that there was no evidence to substantiate the complainant’s perception of racial bias,” Roper said. “I have accepted this finding. However, the IAS report made a number of performance management recommendations to strengthen the management of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which I have also accepted. The civil service has a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination, bullying or harassment and remains committed to investigating all such allegations. Ensuring that all employees are treated fairly is at the core of our civil service values.”

However, during the course of the trial several witnesses under oath repeated those allegations, including crown prosecutors. CNS has contacted the governor’s office in regard to this clear contradiction, given that the allegations were made in open court during sworn testimony by lawyers employed by the government to prosecute crime, and we are awaiting a response.

The audit became an issue in the case after pressure was applied by Dixon’s legal team before the trial proceedings began, which delayed the start by two weeks. The defence team was led by Courtenay Griffiths QC, who was instructed by Amelia Fosuhene from the local firm Brady Law Cayman. Given the potential conflict for the ODPP, as several prosecutors were called as witnesses for both the crown and the defence, Rory Field, a barrister from the UK, was brought in to prosecute the case.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson stated Friday that the audit had somehow been prematurely reported on in the media, despite its part in the trial and the fact that it was raised in open court. He said it was “unfortunate that these allegations appeared in the media before they were properly investigated”. However, it was government that had failed to disclose the existence of the audit or the complaints that had been made about the issue of racial bias.

Manderson also stated that any civil servant who had concerns about how they are being treated in the workplace was encouraged to raise them with him, their line manager, their chief officer, or the governor. “All concerns will be treated fairly and with the utmost seriousness, as they were in this case,” he added.

Dixon was accused of doctoring the computer system and hiding a file that related to her teenage son for a charge of consumption and possession of a small amount of ganja. She had denied the allegation during an internal investigation, but Moran nevertheless passed the case on to the Anti-Corruption Commission, which resulted in a long and protracted serious investigation.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Manderson also stated that any civil servant who had concerns about how they are being treated in the workplace was encouraged to raise them with him, their line manager, their chief officer, or the governor. “All concerns will be treated fairly and with the utmost seriousness, as they were in this case,” he added.

    If you believe that then pigs can surely fly. What a joke. If you’re not in his corner or related don’t waste your time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    An audit has found no evidence of racism. The Internal Audit Service has full access to all internal records including emails…as per the charter. Where is the evidence? Is the evidence a statement from a DPP staff member that had nothing to do with her son’s criminal complaint file disappearing?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Imagine someone bullying/harassing you/make you feel a certain type of way and then the Governor basically tells you it didn’t happen because another person’s opinion said so??

    They wonder why people are hesitant to report anything.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I never experienced racism quite like I have when I moved here.
    This place is more racist than I could have ever imagined.
    Racism again their own people of color (just depends on how dark)
    Racism again anyone of a different race.
    Racism against white expats.
    Racism against all Jamaicans.
    Racism against every single nationality but their own.

    And yes, most people only hang with others from their own country. There will of course be a smattering of other nationalities here and there but that is mostly on accident from partners/gf/bf etc. 25 years ago they hung out in large gangs of; Irish, Safa’s, Canadians, Brits and Eastern European countries.
    Don’t care if you believe me or not, I lived it myself since my arrival in the 90’s. I tried very hard to assimilate into all cultures, especially Cayman. They were having none of that. I guess it was about 8-10 years after that I gave up.
    The further influx of people/countries then ganged within their own as well but I’d guess it was because of the racism they were experiencing so it was more comfortable to be with their own kind.

    Think about your own circle of friends. Seriously consider how involved you are with others. How many of other nations do you invite to your holiday parties/bbq’s/beach parties? And it doesn’t count just because you have kids because kids do not have that same race bone in their body. They do not care. You should follow their lead.

    • Anonymous says:

      3.35 Lies all lies. First you say “Racism again their own people” then you contradict that and say “Racism against every single nationality but their own”. Which is it? Make up your mind. Not once did you acknowledge racism directed at Caymanians. In fact you make it sound as if Caymanians deserve it. I think you are nothing but a Cayman hater.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman court system is the dictionary example of a kangaroo court

  6. Anonymous says:

    Have to agree with the other comments. If government wants to begin to restore public confidence in the DPP’s office they need to bring in experts to do a very thorough review and determine what can be improved and how we monitor this department going forward. If we need to start with a staffing clean slate then so be it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The press release essentially calls the lawyers who testified for the defence liars. This is the Governor seeking to ensure that an Irish lawyer’s career is not affected by the court case. XXXX The racism and colourism in Government is rife.

    CNS: The bit deleted – I couldn’t find anything to verify this and couldn’t remember it (which doesn’t mean anything; my memory is shot).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another example. Govt looses when their legal team goes ahead without reasonable evidence. Last year it was Doctors express case. So much govt staff time and money lost .good to be careful in bringing up cases.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with 10″18am when you go to Rome you do as the Romans do if you have skin colour problem you are in the wrong country

    • Anonymous says:

      Honestly Governor why did you rush to declare the Court house to be free of
      Discrimination? Are you an ostrich ? It is it that you really don’t care and will protect your fellow Europeans no matter what? This is but a glimpse of the callous racism that exists in Cayman at all levels and when I see senior officials failing to call it out I get worried! Franz you need to just pick a side and stay there, I am totally disgusted to be honest.

  10. Anonymous says:

    That department has needed an overhaul for a long time, shame it had to come to this. I have seen some of the lawyers in Court show utter disrespect for the Judges, witness and suspects. No wonder they are arguing amongst themselves. This isn’t a race issue this is an incompetence issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed! Time to bring in outside experts to assess the issues, identify, remediate or remove incompetence, and implement a system of ongoing accountability with the highest of professional standards!

      • Anonymous says:

        Usually prosecution looses as they bring up cases without zupportingvevidence and documentation. Once QC can penetrate and make it appear a mistake from prosecition side case gone. Public money wasted.need a review.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Case that should never have been brought???? Case that was botched???? Something else???

    It is well past time for the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate to be brought in to fully assess our prosecution service and to make concrete recommendations for improvements which are then implemented. This need has been highlighted repeatedly. Public confidence continues to decline.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has it issues but racial discrimination has no room to exist. Many foreign people who come to Cayman would have never associated with any one of colour or mixed back home.

    This is a fact why Cayman continues to flourish. Diversity is the norm and any who seem not to be able to live with it in Cayman, should be encouraged to take the next flight out of here to whereever he or she came from.

    • Anonymous says:

      You miss the possibility that the race card is being played to defend against issues of competence or honesty.

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s a lot of racism here, a lot of anti white locals

      • Anonymous says:

        1.25 Guess they are just responding in kind to their treatment at the hands of certain expats.

    • JTB says:

      Anyone who knows Patrick Moran knows that any suggestion of racism on his part is completely absurd.

      Sadly, it seems asking people from certain cultures to turn up on time and do their job competently is now seen as discrimination.

      • Anonymous says:

        ‘on time’ is a state of mind.

        • Anonymous says:

          3:11 – make sure you say that to your boss every time you arrive late to work… if you do actually work. You can then throw out the race card if he doesn’t buy it and fires you.

      • Anonymous says:

        So you’re saying the people of color who claimed racism shouldn’t feel a way or suggest it even though they were often overlooked to be promoted in which they were the most suitable / more qualified candidate than the person who gets the job that just happens to be “white” with less qualifications/experience?

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s easy to defend someone and say they’re not like that when you’re not on the negative receiving end!

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