The Barbados Bar Association’s (BBA) new president is in full support of lawbreakers being punished and it makes no difference if they are members of the legal fraternity.
Her comments came moments after the High Court slapped attorney-at-law Vonda Pile with a prison sentence three months after she was found guilty by a majority verdict.
Pile was sentenced to three years in prison for theft of money belonging to a client and BBA president Rosalind Smith-Millar, who took over as president of the BBA from Liesel Weekes on July 12, told Barbados TODAY she has full faith in this country’s justice system.
Back on June 5, Pile was found guilty by a 7-2 majority verdict of stealing US$96,008.22 (BDS$191 416.39) from former client Anstey King between April 29, 2009 and October 26, 2010.
She also faced money laundering allegations but was found not guilty on that charge.
Pile had been on remand at HMP Dodds pending sentencing, but this morning she was handed the prison sentence by Madam Justice Pamela Beckles.
“The Barbados Bar Association does not condone the flouting of the law by anyone for any reason, whether it has to do with stealing money or other offences against the laws of Barbados.
“We are supposed to be officers of the court and held to a very high standard of conduct, particularly when it comes to honesty and dealing with our clients’ money and other assets,” Smith Millar said.
“If people flout the law and all of the normal procedures are gone through, whatever consequence ensues there is no reason why lawyers should be exempt from those consequences. I have every faith in our justice system to dispense justice where it is required.”
Smith-Millar said Pile’s conviction could possibly lead to her being disbarred. She explained that the Disciplinary Committee would now be required to make a recommendation to the island’s chief judge.
However, the president said Pile’s conviction had already been brought to the attention of the Registrar.
“It now means that her status as a convicted person will have to be brought to the attention of the Disciplinary Committee, which will consider it and make a recommendation to the Chief Justice and the Court of Appeal will impose whatever sanction is warranted in the circumstances.
“But there is a procedure to go through, it is not automatic [and] we have already asked the Registrar to bring it properly to the attention of the Disciplinary Committee,” Smith-Millar revealed.
Back in February, former attorney-at-law Joyce Griffith had her name struck from the roll of attorneys in Barbados after she was found guilty of misappropriating proceeds from a sale of a client’s property. [email protected]