Lawyer under police investigation

  • Under investigation: Justin Williams, left, and Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley

    Under investigation: Justin Williams, left, and Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley


Public access to information responses to The Royal Gazette from the Royal Bermuda Regiment and Government House

RG: Please provide records on the suspension or placing on leave of any officers in the RBR since October 1, 2019.

RBR: “Formal disciplinary action of all commissioned officers falls under the remit of the Governor as Commander-in-Chief. This question was transferred to ... Government House ... as the requested records are not held by the Regiment.”

GH: “Your request has been denied ... as the majority of the records are exempt records pursuant to section 34(1)(a) of the Public Access to Information Act 2010. The records requested are exempt as their disclosure would or could reasonably be expected to prejudice the prevention, detection or investigation of a breach or possible breach of the law.”

RG: Please provide records on the number of weapons of any kind inventoried in the RBR armoury.

RBR: “..it is RBR policy not to release specific details about the quantities of weapons the RBR holds and, therefore, section 32(1)(a) of the Pati Act 2010 applies, in that disclosure of this information ‘could reasonably be expected to prejudice the security or defence of Bermuda’. The Regiment’s holdings include operational weapons and a small holding of trial and historic weapons. Details of operational weapons held by the RBR can be found ... at http://bermudaregiment.bm/about/estate-weapons-equipment.”

RG: Please provide records on the number of weapons actually held.

RBR: “This question is a variation of question two and we interpret it to seek to determine whether weapons held or owned by the Regiment are not in the armoury. We can confirm that all RBR weapons are in the armoury and that no weapons are on loan. Regardless, the Regiment’s view is that the national security exemption applies.”

RG: Please provide records giving details of any weapons which have been unaccounted for over the past three years.

RBR: “No weapons have been unaccounted for over the past three years, therefore no records exist.”

RG: Please provide records showing the sale or loan of any weapons belonging to the RBR to any individual or organisation since February 2016.

RBR: “In consultation with the Bermuda Police Service information officer, it was determined that a law enforcement exemption — section 34 of the Pati Act 2010 — applies to the records requested, as they are the subject of an ongoing investigation. Deny request — law enforcement exemption.”

Police are investigating how a prominent lawyer acquired weapons from the Royal Bermuda Regiment, The Royal Gazette can reveal.

The criminal inquiry is understood to involve the regiment’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, who has been on leave since October, and barrister Justin Williams, whose return to Bermuda from the United States is being sought by police.

The regiment confirmed there was an “ongoing investigation” after a Pati request from the Gazette, which asked for “records showing the sale or loan of any weapon belonging to the RBR to any individual or organisation since February 2016” — when Colonel Curley took over as CO.

Major Duncan Simons, the RBR adjutant and information officer, said: “In consultation with the Bermuda Police Service information officer, it was determined that a law enforcement exemption — section 34 of the Pati Act 2010 — applies to the records requested, as they are the subject of an ongoing investigation.”

Mr Williams told The Royal Gazette he received two deactivated weapons from Warwick Camp for display purposes and that he did not pay for them.

He said: “I can confirm that I received two destroyed, defunct, incapable of firing projectiles and inoperable artefacts from the Royal Bermuda Regiment for historical/theatrical display purposes only.

“No money was paid for these. The entire process was conducted with and by the Bermuda Police Service and Royal Bermuda Regiment, with full certification and all approvals.”

Mr Williams’s home in Fairylands, Pembroke, was raided by police in November last year.

Detective Superintendent Nicholas Pedro said at the time: “We are executing two warrants, one under the Firearms Act and another under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, otherwise known as Pace, in relation to some ongoing investigations that we are conducting.”

He added that police were investigating “several matters” and that not all of them involved firearms.

Mr Williams said on Wednesday: “I was and I am always ready to co-operate with any reasonable requests regarding any issues and the actions of the BPS in this matter evidences a level of harassment and unreasonableness that could have been easily avoided if they had simply asked me about these show guns before raiding my home.

“I still remain co-operative, notwithstanding their actions.“

The BPS appealed for Mr Williams to return to Bermuda from the US “for interview in regards to an ongoing criminal investigation” in a press release at the end of last month.

The press release highlighted the warrant under the Firearms Act and said: “We are investigating several matters including firearms, corruption and crime-related matters.”

Mr Williams said then that firearms in his home “would be lawful under the Firearms Act or properly registered under the same legislation” and denied any wrongdoing in relation to any matter.

It is understood that two specialist detectives from Britain have been brought to Bermuda to help with the inquiry into Mr Williams.

Colonel Curley has been absent from Warwick Camp since October, but the reason has not been made public. He was first reported as being the subject of a police investigation on November 8.

The Royal Gazette also asked the regiment for records on Colonel Curley’s absence. The request was passed to Government House, which refused to release them on January 2.

Alison Crocket, the Deputy Governor, wrote: “Your request has been denied, in part, as the majority of the records requested are exempt records, pursuant to section 34(1)(a) of the Public Access to Information Act.”

That section exempts records from Pati if their disclosure would or could be expected to “prejudice the prevention, detection or investigation of a breach or possible breach of the law”. The records could be released if disclosure was found to be in the public interest.

John Rankin, the Governor and the regiment’s Commander-in-Chief, declined to answer questions in November on Colonel Curley’s absence from his post.

A Government House spokesman said at the time: “There is a matter currently under investigation by the Bermuda Police Service. It would not be appropriate to comment on the details while that investigation is taking place.”

The only records released by Government House in response to Pati requests were e-mails from the media asking about Colonel Curley’s suspension.

Mr Williams’s law firm, Williams Barristers and Attorneys, formerly provided legal advice to the regiment.

He and Colonel Curley both served on the board of St John Ambulance and were awarded medals from the Governor in March 2016 for their voluntary service.

Colonel Curley could not be contacted for comment.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said: “Given the matters referred to relate to an ongoing investigation, it is inappropriate at this stage to make comment.”

To view the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Pati request response and the Government House response, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”

On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on a story that we deem might inflame sensitivities. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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