Vonda Pile remains “remorseless” and is standing by her “principles” despite being on remand for close to two months after a jury found her guilty of stealing thousands of dollars belonging to her former client earmarked for a land transaction.
In fact the convicted attorney today declared that if it was the court’s position that “Ms Pile should do prison, then I will be doing prison on a principle, not moving from it.”
The lawyer of over 20 years’ experience made the comments today in the No. 5 Supreme Court in an address to Madam Justice Pamela Beckles who presided over her trial and who will sentence her on September 5.
Pile was found guilty by a 7-2 majority verdict of stealing BDS $191, 416. 39 belonging to Anstey King, between April 29, 2009 and October 26, 2010 but not guilty of laundering the same amount.
Following the June 4 verdict she was remanded to Dodds and has been housed there ever since despite bail applications.
“Right now I am in Dodds. Dodds begins with D. There are several things in relation to prison . . . . Prison is suppose to demoralise you, it suppose to degrade you and depress you. I am adding two more D’s to that. It suppose to put you into distress and despair. It has done none of those things to me . . . . The reason it has done none of those things to me is because outside prison I had faith, going into prison I had my faith. That faith has not been shaken, it has not been weakened anytime at all,” Pile told the court in the presence of family members, other attorneys, and the complainant.
And although she continues to maintain her innocence despite the verdict she admitted that the matter involving King should not have “escalated” in the manner it did, as attorneys must be paid for services rendered.
Pile conceded that monies did come from King. But she said having worked for him he should have paid what was owed to her. She explained that “he did not” want to pay fees or costs awarded in a civil case nor did he want to forfeit the deposit in the property matter.
“I don’t care what anyone says about attorneys . . . when you act for a client and a client refuses to pay and . . . you have funds holding for that client . . . [you] have to lien in on them,” she told the court in her approximately six-minute address.
Pile went on to point out that in his sentencing submissions on her behalf Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim stated that she was holding on a principle and “Ms Pile will maintain and hold to that principle”.
She also revealed that it was well known by her colleagues and the judiciary that she does not appear in any matter or in court unless she was paid.
“It did not have to come to this Mr King . . . . So Mr King was holding out that he is not paying and I am holding out that I am not paying him,” she stated, adding that she was an attorney with “nothing to hide, nothing”.
Pile also told the judge that “she did not care” when the prosecutor, Anthony Blackman who is the Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, stated in his sentencing submissions that people overseas have no trust in attorneys in Barbados. Those persons she said do not know the other side of what attorneys have to go through as they too had obligations including paying their staff.
“Mr Pilgrim says I remain remorseless, I maintain that. One thing this court knows about Ms Pile and every other person that Ms Pile comes into contact with, [that] Ms Pile stands on a principle. I am not going to be moved from my principle.
“No attorney in Barbados has a right to work and not be paid for the work, whether you think the attorney is good at it or the attorney is not his best at it. You went to that attorney to do work . . . and that is why I sit down here unshakable, without any remorse because at the end of it, this is an honourable profession,” she declared.