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Thwarted promotion case dismissed by Court of Appeal

David Greenidge (File photograph)

A police officer’s latest claim that his bid for a promotion was disregarded unfairly has been turned down by the Court of Appeal.

David Greenidge had sought to challenge a decision deeming him ineligible for the 2018 inspector to chief inspector promotion process.

He also argued that police e-mails regarding the promotions process were confusing and inconsistent.

While the Court of Appeal dismissed his case, its judgment agreed that the police communications about rising in the ranks had been “potentially misleading”.

The court also raised concerns about internal communications involving senior police staff over promotions, which were introduced as evidence.

The judgment stated: “In the prevalence of such an atmosphere, it is hardly surprising that misgivings might have abounded among those who were not successful in the promotion process, even while there may be no other objective basis for them.”

Mr Greenidge’s legal challenge came after he was told by Assistant Commissioner Martin Weekes in May 2018 that he had been ruled out for promotion because he had failed to meet the requirement for two years of completed personal development review, or PDRs.

His 2016-17 PDR had been completed in April 2018 – more than a year after the March 2017 deadline.

Mr Greenidge has maintained that he had a legitimate expectation of promotion to chief inspector after he acted as head of the Criminal Investigations Unit for 20 months

The officer, who has just retired from the Bermuda Police Service according to posts on social media, applied for a judicial review of Mr Weekes’ decision.

But that application was turned down in 2021 by Narinder Hargun, the Chief Justice.

During the 2021 case, Mr Weekes acknowledged that PDR requirements were waived on occasion by the BPS, but only when there was a legitimate reason for doing so.

Mr Greenidge’s April 2018 application for promotion also contained the admission that he believed PDRs should not be a determining factor in performance measurement.

The office’s appeal of Mr Justice Hargun’s judgment was heard this month in the Court of Appeal.

In the latest hearing, Mr Greenidge argued that his counsel had failed to argue his case as instructed before the Chief Justice – and said his lawyer had not cross-examined Mr Weekes on PDR waivers, which he claimed had led to a miscarriage of justice.

Victoria Greening, representing Mr Greenidge, also said the Assistant Commissioner’s internal BPS messages about the PDR requirement had led to “confusion and inconsistency”.

But while the Court this month agreed some of the communications were “muddled”, it found no legitimate basis for confusion on the applicant’s part.

The ruling added: “He undeniably had recognised and accepted the PDR requirement for 2016-2017 and, having failed to comply, the need for a waiver.”

The court also found that Mr Greenidge’s instructions to his lawyer in the case before Mr Justice Hargun had not relied on charges of confusion over the promotions policy – but instead argued that he had been unfairly denied a PDR waiver when others had been granted one.

Additionally, the court reviewed a series of WhatsApp messages between Mr Weekes and another officer who had been turned down a waiver, which appeared to reference Mr Greenidge’s case – referring to “Dave” as being “difficult” in the matter.

The court acknowledged the content of the messages was “embarrassing”.

The judgment added that it was not “the kind of loose banter one would expect to be going on between senior officers of a disciplined force like the BPS”.

The ruling further stated that while Mr Greenidge’s basis of complaint had not been accepted, “we feel compelled to record our concerns that this sort of conduct is not in keeping with the high standards to be expected of the BPS”.

While the 17-page judgment sided with the Chief Justice’s ruling on the waiver argument, the Court of Appeal said Mr Greenidge’s claims of unfairness had been “neither spurious nor vexatious”.

It added: “We regard the allegations in the case as having been amenable to judicial review”.

But the Court nonetheless turned down Mr Greenidge’s appeal against the 2021 judgment.

To read the judgment in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases.