September 18, 2020

Yes, a very sad day

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I have to agree with RCIPS Commissioner David Baines when he said recently after the verdict of the Devon Anglin murder trial that:  “It was a sad day…”. It was a very sad day, indeed. The saddest thing about it was Mr. Baines’ final comment when he added: “… and a desperate day for justice in the Cayman Islands.”

Last Friday (9) in the Legislative Assembly it was another sad day for the Cayman Islands when Bodden Town MLA Mark Scotland added to his comment about people having a lack of confidence in the police, saying, “and not a great deal of confidence in the judiciary either.”

What message is that sending, not only to us who live here, but to the world? When a minister of the ruling government of a country and the police commissioner take a swipe at our judges, people outside the Cayman Islands take notice. This is the message they receive: “the Cayman islands is a country without law and order. Why should I want to visit there? And, heaven forbid, invest?”

I applaud local attorney, Ramon Alberga, QC, who took exception to Mr. Baines’ remarks in his letter we published in full yesterday (13) and has asked the police commissioner to apologise. I sincerely hope Mr. Baines reads his letter and complies. We all say things rashly and more often than not regret them afterwards.

We are very lucky in living here in the Cayman Islands. We have one of the finest judiciary systems in the world and to say otherwise is a lie! Just because we don’t agree with a decision, and there are some I haven’t agreed with, nothing has made me think differently. Many of the decisions made by our judges here have been cited with admiration and applause. Just recently, Cayman Islands Justice Charles Quin’s decision granting the free-standing Mareva injunction in the case of Gillies-Smith v Smith, received international praise. A judge can only judge on the evidence he has been presented with not on his own gut feeling. The law is there to protect both the innocent and the guilty because in our system ONE IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Yes, it is unpalatable when, seemingly obvious to us regarding someone’s guilt, it cannot be proved WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT.” It is NOT the judiciary’s fault when that happens and I am horrified when people, who are our peers, cannot see that and open their mouths with unwise words.

In quoting Mr. Alberga said in a iNews’ interview refering to his aforementioned letter that the judges decision was “a bright day” for justice. The judiciary here still recognises that very basic principle of innocent until proven otherwise.

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