November 27, 2020

Tempura journalist threatens to “lodge a complaint” against Cayman Islands online news media outlet

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John Evans, the journalist who was at the centre of the costly operation Tempura debacle is threatening legal action against Cayman News Service ().

CNS were responding to a Press Release that stated no criminal action would be taken against Martin Bridger who was the senior investigation officer of Operation Tempura. This is after FOUR years of investigation into his conduct during Tempura.

Evans, after reading the CNS story told us:

“The CNS story reads, “It took Bridger less than three weeks to work out that those allegations were utterly unfounded and had essentially stemmed from rumour, speculation and the distorted imaginations of two employees at the newspaper, and John Evans.”

“In fact I was instrumental in destroying Lyndon Martin’s allegations. During a meeting I had in the Comfort Suites in October 2007 with Bridger’s deputy, Simon Ashwin, and team member Steve Ahmed it was determined that none of the allegations against Seales and Ennis were viable. This information was then passed on to Martin Bridger, who at the time I had never met. I had always treated the allegations with great skepticism and had already expressed doubts about their validity to both Commissioner Kernohan and John Jones. JJ and I had also discussed major inconsistencies in Lyndon’s story during the post-search de-brief at George Town Police Station on 4 September 2007.

“I contacted CNS immediately after reading the story pointing out the mistake and so far both that email and a follow up have been ignored. Despite my complaints the story remains of their website in its original form.

“Two things are disturbing about this malicious attack on me. The first is that it has happened before. Previous reports on the CNS website have persistently, and deliberately, incorrectly referred to the 3 September 2007 search of Desmond Seales’ office as a ‘break in’. Again complaints about this, backed by comments attributed to former Governor Stuart Jack, were completely ignored. The second is that Wendy Ledger covered Lyndon Martin’s 2009 trial so she knows exactly what happened. There is simply no valid excuse for CNS to adopt this ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’ attitude.

“Having looked at the civil and criminal options available to resolve this it’s become quite obvious that a civil action is a complete waste of time because CNS are effectively ‘judgment proof’ so even a successful action wouldn’t result in any settlement. That obviously leaves the criminal option.

“This is the text of the (2017 Revision) Part V Section E – Defamation –

“171. A person who by print, writing, painting, effigy, tape, film, disc or other recording or by any means other than by gestures or spoken words or other sounds unlawfully publishes or facilitates the publication of any defamatory matter concerning another person with intent to defame that other person commits libel.

“172. “Defamatory matter” means matter likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or likely to damage any person in his profession or trade by an injury to his reputation. It is immaterial whether at the time of such publication the person concerning whom such matter is published is living or dead: Provided that no prosecution for the publication of defamatory matter concerning a dead person shall be instituted without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“173. (1) A person publishes a libel if he causes the means by which the defamatory matter is conveyed to be so dealt with, either by exhibition, reading, recitation, description, delivery or otherwise that the defamatory meaning thereof becomes known or is likely to become known to either the person defamed or any other person.
“(2) It is not necessary for a libel that a defamatory meaning should be directly or completely expressed; and it suffices if such meaning and its application to the person alleged to be defamed can be collected either from the alleged libel itself or from any extrinsic circumstances, or partly by the one and partly by the other means.

“I am now lodging a formal complaint to the Commissioner of the RCIPS that the CNS article constitutes a criminal offence under the provisions of the Penal Code (2017 Revision) Part V Section E – Defamation – Sub-sections 171, 172 and 173(1) and am naming the two principals of CNS, Nicky Watson and Wendy Ledger, along with any other CNS employees involved as the persons responsible for committing the offence.

“The complaint is filed under sub-section 171 on the basis that the CNS comment ‘It took Bridger less than three weeks to work out that those allegations were utterly unfounded and had essentially stemmed from rumour, speculation and the distorted imaginations of two employees at the newspaper, Lyndon Martin and John Evans’ identifies me with actions that I was not actually involved in and that this statement was posted by CNS on their website by person(s) who knew that it was untrue. Then, having been advised that the comment was untrue and defamatory, the person(s) who posted it made no attempt to remove or correct it.

“Further, under sub-section 172, the tone and phrasing of the comment was deliberately slanted so as to cause reputational harm to the subject – myself.

“Under sub-section 173(1) the offending material was published on a public website allowing anyone with access to the internet to read it.”

We will keep you up to date as the story develops.

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