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The Editor Speaks: Against all odds Crown ignores blunders

Colin WilsonwebWhy pursue a case when the odds of winning are poor and the odds of an expensive lawsuit when you lose are great?

I am not privy to the inner workings or minds of the Crown Prosecution team and I don’t have any legal training.

However, when a learned Crown Court Judge concludes the police search and seizure of property they executed when they made the arrest was unlawful and the actual warrant of arrest was flawed, I can see no possible reason why the Crown would want to pursue it.

Whilst appreciating the persons making this decision receive no penalty if they lose they surely must have a duty to Cayman’s public who has to pay for all this.

The cost of a trial is bad enough, but when the police blunders could warrant a lawsuit against the police, it is surely time to stop. Blundering on with this case could result in thousands of dollars being awarded to the person they are prosecuting.

The Crown’s record of wins even when the odds were in their favour is not that reassuring either.

I am referring to the Sandra Catron case.

When Grand Court Justice Alex Henderson reviewed the warrant issued last year against Catron’s home and vehicle, in a judicial review application earlier this month, he deemed them unlawful.

Louis M. Ebanks, the Justice of the Peace who signed the warrant, failed to record the statement of the police officer who had sought the warrant and there had been no oath taking that was “statutory precondition” under the criminal code.

Henderson also said there were other deficiencies in the warrant application process that could lead to a damages claim against the government by Catron.

Catron was arrested in connection with insults on social media.

Catron is a well known local activist and that she has probably upset someone with some influence can be the only reason this case hasn’t been dropped right now.

The Crown also lost their case this week against former cabinet minister and political commentator Dr Frank McField.

McField, in May 2012, was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing police following an incident, at a restaurant he owned, during a private party. Officers from the RCIPS tried to seize equipment being used to play music after midnight on a Sunday. The restaurant was not a licensed premises and the police entered his restaurant without a warrant and had made no arrest beforehand.

McField was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election last May and blamed his poor showing in the voting (he was only able to attract just over 3.6% of the vote and lost his deposit) from the fact that much had been made in the media of candidates having pending court cases against them.

“I was one of those candidates who had to suffer the humiliation and disadvantage of campaigning while on bail,” he said in a letter to RCIPS Commissioner David Baines. “However, my case never needed to come before a court because it was obvious even to the Pope’s dog that the seizure of some of my possessions, and my arrest and detainment was unlawful.”

The magistrate agreed with him and McField didn’t even need a lawyer by his side to influence the judge.

“Mr Baines, I had to act as my own defence counsel because the majority of these officers of the court are like your policemen and women, here for the money and joy ride and to hell with the rights of the natives. Therefore, if I need to take further actions to win back my humanity, I will do so by any means necessary,” McField said in his letter.

Now McField has said he is going to sue the RCIPS.

Why pursue a case when the odds of winning are poor and the odds of an expensive lawsuit when you lose are great?

Crown Prosecutors – PLEASE TELL ME WHY????




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