October 30, 2020

Tempura Judgment says records must not be made public

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Martin BridgerIn a 91 page Judgment by Justice Richard Williams in the case between Cayman’s Attorney General and ex Operation Tempura Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger, it has ruled all the records including legal advice, emails and memorandums (280 documents) held by Bridger, must not be disclosed to any other party.

The justice ruled that Bridger cannot be considered the client to whom that legal advice regarding Operation Tempura was delivered after he left the investigation.

The Judge commented, “One may ask why Mr Bridger felt it appropriate or proper for him to retain documents that he readily accepts to be highly sensitive after he retired from his post.”

After Bridger had left he was replaced by Detective Inspector Anne Lawrence, who had been sent to the Cayman Islands by the Metropolitan Police as Bridger’s deputy in January 2009.

Lawrence stated that she considered the documents and records generated as a result of Operation Tempura to be the property of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

Commissioner of Police David Baines stated that upon his appointment in June 2009, he took charge and oversight of both Operation Tempura and the related second phase Operation Cealt. He indicated that that role had previously been one undertaken by the Special Operations Group (SOG). He said that he has “retained responsibility for, possession and control of all reports and records created, and all statements and legal advice obtained, during the conduct of those operations by the officers assigned to the respective investigative  teams, who were at all times acting under their legal status as special constables of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. ”

Baines stated that it was in April 2012 that he learned that Mr. Bridger, following his departure in May 2009, had retained a very large quantity of documents generated during the Operations as well as material provided to him by Douglas Schofield of the Attorney General’s Chamber. He expressed a concern that the documents “included sensitive information from named sources who face personal danger and the risk of attack or death were such confidential information to be leaked or otherwise made public.”

There are many pages and parts of pages blacked out on the Judgment that orders “[Bridger] is not to permit any party, including but not limited to, [former RCIPS Commissioner Stuart Kernohan] and his attorneys, to inspect or take copies of [the records].”

To do so would constitute a criminal offence, the judge stated.

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