Former partner in the once prestigious legal firm Cottle Catford and Co, Philip Nicholls, is suing four legal officials for unspecified damages.
In the civil suit filed in the Supreme Court on January 16, 2017, Nicholls is claiming damages for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and losses incurred as a result of charges brought against him in 2008.
He has named Barry Gale, QC, as the first defendant, with Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock, QC, as the remaining defendants.
In his 12-page statement of claim Nicholls charged that he was falsely accused of appropriating over $600,000 placed in his trust with the law firm and had used it for his personal use.
Nicholls contended there was malice behind the decision to arrest him, in the wake of several years of threats made verbally and in writing, and attacks on his character and integrity.
The attorney charged that his arrest had led to the deprivation of his liberty, embarrassment and the loss of reputation, both locally and internationally, evidenced by the fact that the news of his arrest was reported prominently on local radio, television and newspapers, and “spread across the Internet like wildfire”.
He contended that to this day he continues to suffer the consequences of his arrest even though the charges were dismissed for want of prosecution.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY Nicholls said he was surprised when he was advised after his arrest that in addition to the funds he was accused of appropriating, he was being charged with money laundering.
“In addition to being charged with theft I was charged with money laundering . . . and though the charge was subsequently dismissed for want of prosecution I continue to suffer the stigma associated with this charge and has been deemed, if not a terrorist, then a persona non grata by both the USA and Canada,” he said.
Nicholls last year delivered a damning indictment of the legal system here, claiming it has been infiltrated by “rogues” and “bullies” who discredit the profession.
The attorney-at-law fell from grace in October 2013 when he was arrested on charges of money laundering and theft of $674,172.
A still bitter Nicholls, who had released a book chronicling the events that led to his downfall, including the demise of the law firm, told Barbados TODAY at the time he loathed the profession.
“Right now I detest the law. If I never saw another law court in my life I would not miss it,” the angry attorney vowed.