It took a jury about half an hour to find attorney-at-law Norman Leroy Lynch guilty of theft and money laundering charges and despite an application by his lawyer for him to remain on bail pending sentencing, the presiding judge remanded him to Dodds prison.
He is the third lawyer to be convicted in the last three years, for stealing a client’s money.
The jurors who heard the evidence in his trial returned the unanimous guilty verdict on the three-count indictment after Justice Randall Worrell sent them to deliberate around 7:20 p.m. following his all-day summation of the case.
Sitting in the dock of the No. 2 Supreme Court Lynch, who was wearing a navy blue dress shirt, black slacks and black mask on his face displayed no easily visible reaction to the verdict. He leaned his head slightly to the right when the foreman announced the verdict on the first count.
He was found guilty of stealing $50 000 belonging to the estate of Arthur O’Neal Thomas between August 18, 2005 and December 21, 2008 and $407 634, between June 22, 2007 and December 21, 2008.
Lynch was also convicted of money laundering, in relation to the disposal of the total amount between the same dates, being the proceeds of crime.
“In the circumstances the state is asking that the now convicted man be remanded to Dodds prison,” submitted Senior Crown Counsel Olivia Davis, who prosecuted the case with Crown Counsel Romario Straker.
But attorney-at-law Marlon Gordon who defended Lynch along with counsel Rico Blackman and Michelle Gibson, urged the court to allow their client to remain on bail until he is sentenced.
“He had previously been on remand. It is a 13-year-old case. He has faithfully attended court . . . so just allow him sometime to make some arrangements,” Gordon submitted on behalf of the 72-year-old Lynch who he said had not practised law for some time.
Davis countered the submission making it clear that the prosecution was seeking “a custodial sentence” in relation to the matter which would “fit the seriousness” of the offence.
An officer from the Criminal Records Department revealed that Lynch had one prior conviction for failing to pay taxes as a business owner.
“I don’t even remember it but if it is so . . . yes,” Lynch told the judge after he was asked if he accepted that conviction.
Gordon further submitted that it was the first time that Lynch had been convicted for a major criminal offence and again asked for the convicted man to remain on bail.
“It is not an unusual request,” the defence attorney stated in the presence of the heirs of Thomas’ estate, who were seated in the back of the court.
“The court is not going to accede to that request,” Justice Worrell told Lynch’s attorney as he remanded him until July 28.
Lynch then handed his belongings including cellular phone and jewellery to Gordon before he was escorted out of the court by police officers.
During the trial Lynch denied any theft of his client’s money.
“I did not steal money belonging to the estate of Arthur Thomas. I cannot say what happened to my account or the monies on them,” he said in an unsworn statement.
In June 2019 veteran attorney Vonda Pile was found guilty of stealing $191, 416. 39 belonging to her former client. She was jailed. In September 2020 attorney Cheraine Parris was sentenced to time behind bars after pleading guilty to stealing $302,000 also belonging to a client and engaging in money laundering.