Police officer says he is ‘disappointed’ by judgement
The police officer at the centre of the Charles Richardson criminal libel case expressed disappointment at news the charge is to be dropped.
Detective Inspector Cardwell believes Mr Richardson, one of the Island’s top defence lawyers, intended to damage his good reputation through an “irresponsible” Facebook posting [see main story].
He is now contemplating civil action against Mr Richardson.
Stressing he was speaking in a personal capacity, and not on behalf of the police service, Det Insp Cardwell said: “I am very thankful for the significant energy that was given by the judge in researching and drafting the detailed opinion given in this matter. Whilst I am disappointed, I respect the judgement.
“I will continue to argue that what Mr Richardson did on Facebook with his ‘creative writing’ was intended to be malicious. I suggest that it was intended to damage my reputation personally and professionally. I cannot think of any other reason for him to write what he did.”
Mr Richardson posted about the detective on Facebook after Det Insp Cardwell spearheaded an investigation into him possessing drugs. Mr Richardson subsequently admitted possessing 8.2 grams of cannabis and 0.71 grams of cannabis resin found during a police raid at his home.
According to Puisne Judge Ian Kawaley, who ruled the libel case should be thrown out, the posting appeared to invite debate on whether race influenced the decision to prosecute Mr Richardson, who is black.
Mr Cardwell told
The Royal Gazette: “The comments were not true of any behaviour I have exhibited; they were unjustified, unwarranted and unhelpful in an environment that is fragile. The question he asked of his Facebook friends about me was not necessary and served no useful purpose.
“I suspect that when Mr Richardson made this irresponsible Facebook entry he was being fuelled by emotions that clouded his decision making. However, once the emotions that were driving him had calmed, he had ample opportunity to recognise his bad decision, ‘man up’ and apologise to me. He and I both know that I did not deserve what he had done.
“I have never been disrespectful to Mr Richardson or acted in a manner that is less than professional. I have built my reputation over the course of 23 years of membership in the Bermuda Police Service in which I have served my country and its citizens with absolute respect whilst demonstrating a high level of personal and professional integrity.
“I am conscious of the fact that a reputation takes a long time to build but can be destroyed in a few short words and that is why I filed the criminal complaint I did with the BPS. I am also entitled to the protections provided by legislation. I was aware that the only defence for Mr Richardson to the criminal complaint made was for him to prove that what he had said was in fact true. I was very confident this was not possible.”
Det Insp Cardwell said he felt the lawyer had embarrassed his own professional colleagues.
“There is a complaint with the Bermuda Bar as a result of Mr Richardson’s actions in this matter and I hope that someone will be in touch with me shortly to update me on the status of the complaint,” he said.
“I have always been aware that there is an option for me to seek compensation through the civil courts. I will consider this option together with my attorney.”