Victim did not receive police update

| 18/01/2019

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusSome time ago I was seriously assaulted by someone known to me. The matter was reported to the police and I gave a statement giving details of the assault. Some short time later I became aware that the same person had been arrested for another crime. Since then I have not heard of any charges or prosecution taking place for either crime. Apart from one follow-up soon after I reported the assault, I have not been contacted by the police, though they told me they would keep me updated, nor has anyone else contacted me.

I recently saw the individual working for a local company which, considering at the least the criminal offence he committed against me, was a big surprise.

My question is how can I find out if he was prosecuted for his offence against me and if he wasn’t who can I contact to find out why he wasn’t?

Auntie’s answer: I followed up with the RCIPS and the good news, as far as the reader is concerned, is that the case remains very much alive. I believe what occurred was a “failure to communicate”.

I put the reader and the police in touch with each other and he reported back to me that he received a call from a “very pleasant officer” who apologised for the lack of communication and assured him the case was still being prosecuted. The reader also noted he “should have known that the wheels of justice turn exceedingly slowly, not only here but all over the world”.

And, coincidentally, the slow turning of justice’s wheels was highlighted this week by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie when he spoke at the annual opening of the Grand Court.

For anyone else who needs information about a case involving them, an RCIPS spokesperson sent a detailed explanation of the process, which is included below:

In a general sense, an officer should be in contact with a complainant throughout an investigation, sending updates on arrest and charges. After a suspect has been charged, the case file is handed over the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP). At this point, when the case is up for trial, both the officer and the victim will receive a summons from the court to attend on a given date.

If a member of the public wishes to get an update on the matter after the charge, they may contact the police station and request that the investigator get an update from the ODPP on their behalf. The ODPP can provide this information directly when able, but generally the best course of action is to request an update from the officer who dealt with the matter. The GTPS can be contacted at 949-4222 and the ODPP can be contacted at 949-7712.

Complainants should always remember to request their incident number (also known as RMS Number) and to record the name and badge number of the officer attending to their report for purposes of follow-up. Many officers now have business cards with them, and complainants should request one of these cards from them. Complainants can also call their local police station and provide their name and information, and the date of their report. The person answering the phone should be able to retrieve their information and determine who the investigating officer is, and send them a message.

We acknowledge that the judicial process can be lengthy and that reaching an officer is not always easy, given that many officers do not work a typical schedule and also may be on leave. We are looking at how we can improve this process to ensure an easier channel of communication for victims, complainants and witnesses, especially in cases that take some time to move through the court process.

In the interests of being as comprehensive as possible, I also contacted the Ombudsman to find out the recourse for someone who has filed a police report but has not been informed of the status of the case.

If after contacting the officer assigned to the case, the complainant is not happy with his or her conduct, including neglect of duty, such as “not responding to complainants or not conducting an investigation”, they can lodge a complaint at any police station, including the RCIPS Professional Standards Unit on Walkers Road (945-4924), or through the Ombudsman website, which has an electronic version of the complaint form.

The complaint will be assessed and the Ombudsman will work to resolve the issue, informally at first (which can include meeting with the officer involved to address the concerns of the complainant), and then by a more formal investigation if the person complaining is not satisfied. In the latter case, the “Ombudsman could make recommendations to the RCIPS to improve the situation and/or service provided as well as any remedial discipline or training which may be required relative to the officer”.

For more information on the complaints procedure, call 946-6283 or email the Ombudsman.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The wheels if justice turn slowly comment overlooks the fact that, if the authorities do not at least charge someone within a set period after arrest, the wheels of justice will stop turning altogether – defence would be able to throw it out as time barred.

  2. Anonymous says:

    typical from the police farce….

  3. Anonymous says:

    None of this is applicable if you are a man.

    Men, do not be naive. If you are assaulted by your partner:

    Do not defend yourself or restrain her. You will be charged. Get to a safe place. If you can’t get away, lock yourself in a bathroom and call the police.

    Take pictures of everything including property damage and any injuries regardless of how small.

    Immediately email the pictures to yourself, the media, the police, and a close trustworthy family member. You will have an infinitely better chance at justice. Do not believe anything the police tell you. Once the leave your presence, they can change anything. If you can record the interactions with police.

    Report the injuries to the hospital, dcfs, media, and Governors office.

    Do not trust PSU or the Ombudsman.

    With the new fast track dv court, you need to be extremely cautious. If you don’t do this, you risk be charged despite being the victim and fast tracked through the system with no recourse. If you are married or have children the case will be used against you in family court to remove custody from you.

    This is no joke. Fast tracked dv courts are notorious for doing this in other jurisdictions.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The wheels of justice do not have to turn nearly as slowly as they do. It may not be the fault of an individual police officer, or even the department, but too often, somewhere in the judicial system, there are foul ups and delays. The courts blame the prosecutors, the prosecutors blame defense counsel, defense counsel blame the police, the police blame the witnesses, and round and round it goes with seemingly no one accepting responsibility or taking meaningful steps to fix systemic issues.

    The wheels of justice turn this slowly everywhere?


  5. Anonymous says:

    Our boat was towed away from our dock by jet skis under cover of darkness, thief arrested, boat recovered. DPP didn’t charge or prosecute the theft because the boat and most of its contents had been (as far as they were concerned) returned. The perceived safe return of goods is considered a wash trade in the justice system of the Cayman Islands, be it your body or belongings.