Fri | Sep 22, 2023

Portland businessman loses appeal against contempt of court over parking lot

Published:Tuesday | June 6, 2023 | 6:11 PM
The Court of Appeal, in dismissing the appeal, held that the judge came to the correct decision in ruling that Sudeall was guilty of contempt.

Portland businessman Kevin Sudeall has lost his appeal against a Supreme Court ruling that he was in contempt of a court order and should pay a fine or go to prison.

Supreme Court Judge Sonya Wint-Blair heard the contempt of court proceedings in October 2021 and imposed a fine of $1 million or 30 days' imprisonment for interfering with the administration of justice and bringing it into disrepute.

Sudeall was given seven days to pay the fine and also granted leave to appeal the ruling.

“The point is that the public must understand that we are in a country of laws and it is the rule of law not the rule of man which must prevail,” says King's Counsel Andre Earle who represented the respondents who had brought contempt of court proceedings against Sudeall in the Supreme Court in July 2021.

Earle, who appeared with attorney-at-law Deandra McPherson, said today that “the orders of the court must be obeyed at all times, unless and until those orders have been overturned, revoked, or varied by the court.”

Sudeall, who operates a car rental business, had disobeyed a Supreme Court order of January 8, 2021, granted by Justice Tara Carr which specifically stated that supermarket owners Garfield Sinclair and Lynsetta Sinclair must use the common area for parking and delivery.

The Sinclairs brought an application in July 2021 for criminal contempt of court.

They said despite the court order, vehicles belonging to Sudeall were still blocking the common area at 16 West Street in  Port Antonio, Portland, and thus preventing goods from being delivered to the warehouse for the supermarket.

The Court of Appeal, in dismissing the appeal on May 26, held that Justice Wint-Blair came to the correct decision in October 2021 on the issues of fact and law which arose for her analysis in deciding whether Sudeall was guilty of contempt.

The court comprising the President Justice Patrick Brooks, Justice David Fraser, and Justice Kissock Laing said the judge clearly set out the conclusions for her finding and cannot be faulted.

It was the court's finding that on the facts of the case, it was not disputed that Sudeall was at all material times fully aware of the January b2021 order which was an injunction barring Sudeall and Joyce Ramdeen-Sudeall from preventing or restricting the Sinclairs' use of the common area.

Sudeall was represented by attorney-at-law Nicholas Chambers, instructed by Legal Chambers.

- Barbara Gayle

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