January 15, 2021

Cayman: The RCIPS Caution Scandal – Letter to the Editor

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By Peter Polack

A recent criminal investigation in September 2020 was shuttered by a member of the Bodden Town Police Station who issued an RCIPS Caution to an accused person after a perfunctory investigation that included no interview or statement. The complainant in that matter provided several photographs of the commission of the offence, a video of the commission of the offence, the name of the accused and the address of the accused all for naught.

The complainant sought the intervention of the Commissioner of Police after being advised that a Caution had been issued by the RCIPS officer. Thereafter the defective investigation quickly unravelled with supervising Superintendent Brad Ebanks rushing to bring the matter to the Office of the DPP.

The Police Law was amended several years ago to require that the RCIPS submit criminal investigation files to the ODPP for a ruling. In one such recent situation Chief Inspector Frank Owens who was not arrested or in custody or on bail received a favorable ruling from just such a type of file submitted to the ODPP.

Part of the reasoning behind the file submission requirement would have been to avoid defective, negligent or corrupt acts in RCIPS criminal investigations with proper oversight. The glaring omission has been low and middle RCIPS officers who conduct enquiries not investigations then simply issue a RCIPS Caution without oversight or supervisory approval.

This massive hole in the RCIPS procedure and glaring omission in the law has allowed hundreds if not thousands of criminal investigations to be swept under the carpet in suspicious circumstances over the years.

Attempts to obtain the RCIPS policy on the issue of Cautions or circumstances in which they have been issued have been met with a wall of silence from Superintendent Brad Ebanks. Complainants in criminal cases are disregarded and when omissions by an RCIPS investigation are exposed they are kept in the dark.

The Legislature, the Judicial Portfoilo the Ombudsman and the Anti-Corruption Commission should express their concerned with this unstaisfactory state of affairs in the RCIPS by calling for a review of RCIPS cases where Cautions have been issued, the implementation of a firm policy of supervision and authorization of Cautions not an escape hatch.

END

We have asked the RCIPS to comment on this. – EDITOR

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