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Former QC loses appeal, ordered to pay $5 million

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Disgraced lawyer, former Queen’s Counsel Othneil Sylvester has lost his appeal and has been ordered to pay over $5 million to a Danish Foundation.{{more}}

A ruling handed down by Justices Frederick Bruce- Lyle and Kenneth Benjamin on May 29, 2007, in which Sylvester was disbarred and ordered to pay the Danish Foundation the money that he owed them, was upheld by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal on November 10th 2008.

The appeal was heard before Justices Denys Barrow, SC, Ola Mae Edwards, and Indra Hariprashad-Charles.

In dismissing Sylvester’s appeal, the Justices of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal ordered that he fork up $26,667 in costs to the Foundation’s lawyers.

In February 2004, a private Danish commercial foundation Faelleseje filed a civil lawsuit, which sought to recover EC$5,212,500 – monies reportedly expended for the purchase of a parcel of land at Orange Hill Estates. The Danish foundation also commenced the court action seeking to discipline Sylvester.

According to court documents, Faellesje claimed that in July 1984, it entered into an agreement with Sylvester, who then acted as their solicitor, to purchase a group of estates here in St. Vincent, comprising approximately 3,300 acres and known as the Orange Hill Estates.

Two months after the purchase of the estate, the Government acquired the land because of protests by the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines about the sale.

In November 1991, the Danish foundation was awarded EC$4.7 million, which carried interest of five per cent per annum.

The Danish foundation says it received some money but sued Sylvester for what it described as the remainder.

Sylvester was represented by James Guthrie QC, Emery Robertson and his daughter Nicole Sylvester.

Stanley Marcus SC, Bertram Commissiong QC and Mira Commissiong represented the Danish foundation.

Sylvester has the dubious distinction of being the first Queen’s Counsel to be disbarred in St Vincent & the Grenadines.