Lawyers for embattled former CLICO Executive Chairman Leroy Parris were today claiming a “moral victory” after the Court of Appeal agreed with their submission that court action against their client was improperly filed by CLICO International Life (CIL).
Acknowledging a precedent set by Australia, the three-member panel, led by Madam Justice Sandra Mason and including Justices Andrew Burgess and Kaye Goodridge, said the action should have really been filed by CLICO International Life (under judicial management), and not simply by CLICO International Life, since legally the two companies were not the same.
Hal Gollop, QC, said it was now therefore left to Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson to decide on Parris’ appeal of an earlier order for him to pay back $3.3 million to CIL.
“We now have to wait and see what happens in the appeal,” he told Barbados TODAY as he made his way out of the Supreme Court, hailing today’s development as a “moral victory” for his team, which has filed a counter suit in a bid to have the February 2 judgment against Parris set aside.
Gollop’s legal partner Vernon Smith, QC, who is also representing Parris and his private firm Branlee Consulting Services, said based on Wednesday morning’s development he was also satisfied that “the Court of Appeal had agreed with all of our submissions that it [the action against Parris] was not properly brought”.
However, Ramon Alleyne, the legal spokesman for CIL’s judicial manager Deloitte Consulting Inc, said in his estimation today’s ruling did not in any way affect the previous judgments handed down on CLICO; therefore he saw no reason for Parris’ team to be jumping for joy.
“We have a court order, determined by [the] Chief Justice, that there is no disability for the reference ‘under judicial management’ not being in the title, that is all this is, how do you call CLICO. So what the Court of Appeal has asked today, or indicated is that they would prefer if it is referenced as ‘under judicial management’.
“The Court has basically determined that you should say CLICO International Life under judicial management but reaffirmed that their right to sue, bring action against Mr Parris or do any of the things they are doing is totally acceptable, not in question. So truthfully, it doesn’t change a thing,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Pressed on whether the Court of Appeal’s decision did not take the CLICO matter back to the starting point, Alleyne said: “No, no. Certainly not!”
As for Gollop’s shouts of victory, the CIL’s attorney said: “It is the only type of victory they have ever received in this matter since most of the substantive victories have been for CLICO.”
The company has been given a week to file a new application reflective of the CIL name change.
Deloitte, acting on behalf of CLICO International Life, had earlier successfully brought the court action against Parris, claiming that the $3.3 million went to him through Thompson and Associates, the law firm owned by the late Prime Minister David Thompson.
Forensic auditors from Deloitte Canada, in their report of December 5, 2011, had expressed concern about the payment, which they described as a fraudulent transaction. The Judicial Manager wants the money refunded, alleging it was obtained from CLICO in breach of trust and fiduciary duty.
Over a year ago, the High Court froze the money on Parris’ account at the Bank of Nova Scotia. It is that same money which Parris’ lawyers are currently fighting to have released, and they have filed a second constitutional motion to have the court accelerate a ruling.
The court is yet to make a final determination on the multi-million dollar payment.