Director of Ouch Boutique Grenville Ricardo Delpeache says he believed he was buying genuine PUMA products when he purchased them from store fronts in the United States.
The 44-year-old businessman of Passage Gardens, Passage Road, St Michael stuck to that position as he gave evidence today before Magistrate Graveney Bannister in his trial on charges related to selling fake PUMA items.
Delpeache is accused of selling PUMA Fenty by Rihanna Creeper Sneakers and PUMA Fenty slippers; and exposing for sale 17 Puma slippers, seven single shoes and 31 backpacks that were allegedly counterfeit in May last year.
“I only shop in store fronts [that] I believe to be registered and governed under US laws,” the boutique owner told the court today.
He explained that the 17 pairs of slippers were from a batch of two dozen which he had purchased in early 2016 for US$50 per pair. Delpeache retailed the product for BDS$200, while he bought the backpacks for $19.95 plus tax.
He further stated that he thought the products were genuine as he examined them and “they were marked PUMA”.
“I does look at the one on display before I buy them as I can only see the one on display . . . . Then I rush and pack them in the suitcase but I don’t keep the boxes,” he testified, adding that he also did not read the labels on the shoes or the bags.
When asked by the prosecutor, Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police Trevor Blackman, how he determined the products were genuine, Delpeache said: “Because the item classify the brand itself . . . . The name is marked on the item [but] I don’t look at the label.”
He was adamant that he believed he was buying genuine PUMA “because they were marked PUMA”.
“I had no training in the PUMA brand,” Delpeache added.
After hours of cross examination by the prosecutor, Delpeache’s lead attorney Satcha Kissoon submitted that the charges against his client were wrongfully brought as they should have been laid against the business and not Delpeache.
“So all those charges are wrong . . . the COP [Commissioner of Police] had to charge Ouch. There is no doubt that he bought the items through Ouch Boutique and Ouch Boutique sold them,” the lawyer said.
The defence attorney further argued that his client believed he had purchased products from places with genuine merchandise in the US and he was not an expert in picking out which shoes were fakes.
He added that his client was not a “large retailer with sophisticated knowledge of brands”, although he had been in the business for 20 years.
“You can’t punish him because he is a small retailer. He is not to know [what’s fake and what’s not] . . . . And he paid a proper price for the shoes, from a proper seller, so how should he know?
“Mr Delpeache or Ouch has an extremely good defence that the goods he purchased were genuine. The slippers sold, there is no evidence that says those slippers were counterfeit,” Kissoon added as he asked for the charges against his client to be dismissed.
However, the prosecutor was adamant that Delpeache was rightfully charged as the director of Ouch Boutique.
Magistrate Bannister is expected to make a ruling after the prosecutor’s full submissions tomorrow morning.