Forged documents produced as evidence in Cayman Islands libel claim

“I can confirm that an investigation is underway into the origin and authenticity of a number of documents as described by Premier Alden McLaughlin,” Baines stated in an email following the revelations in the Legislative Assembly last Thursday.

“The matter was reported to me by the premier … After initially receiving his report, I handed over the oversight and investigation into the matter to DCOP Steven Brougham and recused myself, as being the alleged author of some of the correspondence presents a conflict of interest. In the interest of transparency it is important the investigation is conducted without my oversight or involvement. I am unable to comment further,” Baines added.

CNS has learned that the documents in question not only have the forged signature of the commissioner but also those of the former governor, Duncan Taylor, and the attorney general, Samuel Bulgin. It is understood that some of the fabricated documents may have been doctored emails with the original text taken out and forged copy inserted.

McLaughlin revealed last week the existence of fabricated communications between Baines and Taylor that involved him and which carried a forged signature of the commissioner. This revelation emerged as Bush was closing his debate on a private member’s motion requesting government change the make-up of the Anti-Corruption Commission. 

In an effort to illustrate his point that the commissioner and auditor should be removed because of what he said “they got up to” in relation to his trial on criminal charges last year, Bush read from correspondence he said he had received during his trial.

Bush was acquitted last year of charges that related to the misuse of his government credit card. But in his defence his attorney had used some correspondence to illustrate claims that the premier was the victim of trumped up charges and a conspiracy to oust him from office. 

During proceedings in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, Bush attempted to read more of the correspondence, which he said was from the commissioner of police to the governor talking about McLaughlin, who was leader of the opposition at the time, “being in agreement” with something.

However, he was stopped from reading further when the premier interjected and revealed that this particular document was one of four documents that appear to be forged. 

McLaughlin said, “The leader of the opposition knows that in response to the writ and statement of claim that I filed against him for defamation he filed a defence … in which he claims, among other things, that he is in possession of documentation that tends to show my involvement in the conspiracy that he has alleged. My lawyers served on his lawyers a notice to produce this evidence. They (Bush’s lawyers) have produced four documents. The one just referred to, which purports to be from the commissioner of police to the governor on the 10 December 2012, the day before Mr Bush was arrested, is one of those such documents.”

The premier said Bush knew full well that the lawyers had made repeated requests for the provenance of the documents.

“There is a police investigation underway because the documents are fabricated and fraudulent. The document that the leader of the opposition is proposing to read from has been made up. The question for him, which he must answer if not here somewhere else, is where did it come from, who fabricated it and how did it come into his possession?” McLaughlin said these were “very, very serious matters”, adding that allegations were being made about him based on what he and his legal team knew to be fabricated documents.

“Fabricated documents are in the possession of the leader of the opposition and he needs to tell the country where those documents came from. They were not disclosed in the criminal trial against him,” the premier noted, adding that the documents emerged in this civil action but no one on Bush’s side was prepared to say where they got them from.

“Perhaps he and others will tell the police how they came to have fabricated documents with forged signatures on them,” the premier said.

Bush said the only way he could say anything about it all was if he was allowed to read the entire document but the speaker had prevent either of the men from talking further about the case.

The opposition leader said his lawyers were dealing with the allegations that the documents were false. “We are ever ready to defend anything that they have produced … We get information and we use it accordingly and then the courts will have to decide accordingly.”

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