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No judicial review for ATL pension fraud case

Published:Thursday | December 11, 2014 | 12:00 AMBarbara Gayle

Supreme Court Judge, Justice Carol Lawrence Beswick, has refused an application by Gorstew Limited which was seeking leave to go to the Judicial Review Court to challenge the acquittal of three former executives in the billion-dollar ATL Pension Fund fraud case.

Three former ATL executives, Patrick Lynch, Catherine Barber and Dr Jeffrey Pyne, were freed in September after Resident Magistrate Lorna Shelly-Williams, upheld no-case submissions. The former ATL executives and Shelly-Williams were respondents.

Hugh Wildman, who is representing Gorstew, the holding company for Gordon "Butch' Stewart's companies, told The Gleaner yesterday that the ruling was going to be appealed and would go as far as the United Kingdom Privy Council if necessary.

Queen's Counsel Douglas Leys also appeared with Wildman.

Attorney-at-law Carlene Larmond, from the Attorney General's Department, represented the RM. The other respondents were represented by K.D. Knight Q.C, and attorneys-at-law Bert Samuels and Deborah Martin, who all took a preliminary position that the application should be refused as it was a breach of the Constitution for a person to be tried twice for the same offence.

Arguments were put forward that the Supreme Court had no power to quash the RM's decision because there was no statutory framework in Jamaica to allow that.

No right of appeal

The lawyers described the application as a way to circumvent the fact that the prosecution had no right of appeal.

Gorstew claimed that the RM said "I have given myself too little time in the matter. It is a work in progress"and that meant the RM did not have enough time to go through the evidence.

However, the lawyers for the respondents said that was a falsehood. They pointed out that the RM only stated that she was unable to provide written reasons for her ruling.

The former ATL executives were charged for fraudulently distributing $1.7 billion of interest and withdrawal surpluses to members of the scheme without the consent of Gorstew.

In dismissing the charges, Shelly-Williams said prosecutors had not presented a case on which a reasonable jury could have found them guilty.