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Experienced lawyer suspected of ‘doctoring’ document

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The Director of Public Prosecutions is said to be reviewing a court document which court officials suspect may have been forged by an experienced lawyer currently practising in the state of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The document, which purports to be a resealed grant of probate, is said to have been signed with the name of former registrar V. Tamara Gibson-Marks, but dated long after Gibson-Marks had demitted office.{{more}}

Gibson-Marks’ last day on the job was May 21, 2014.

According to a credible and reliable source, in addition to bearing a date after Gibson-Marks had left the job, the signature which purports to be that of the former Registrar was a poor replica and “obviously a forgery”. The document was also reportedly affixed with the necessary stamps and a seal in an attempt to give the appearance of it being a genuine document, the source explained.

The source told SEARCHLIGHT in the case being investigated, the deceased had left property both in the United Kingdom and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Our source revealed to SEARCHLIGHT that the worry was that the beneficiaries of the will could be going around dealing with the document as though it were valid, when it was not.

Subsequently, SEARCHLIGHT consulted a legal expert who states that a resealed grant of probate is necessary where the dispositions under a will relate to property in more than one jurisdiction.

“One applies for a grant in one of the jurisdictions, this is referred to as the original grant. One then takes the original grant to the foreign jurisdiction (if the laws of that jurisdiction so allow) and makes an application to have the probate registry there ‘rubber stamp’ it without going through the full procedure it would be subjected to, had it been a fresh application in that foreign jurisdiction.

“This process is referred to as Resealing probate. In effect, the original grant would already have been sealed in the first jurisdiction, one seals it again in the second or foreign jurisdiction hence the term,” the expert said.

“It is a very simple and straight forward application as most of the work would have been done before getting the original grant in the foreign jurisdiction,” the legal expert explained.

The legal expert however said the resealed grant from our court is necessary in order to dispose of local property, because the court in the UK does not have jurisdiction here.

When contacted, DPP Colin Williams declined to comment, saying to do so would prejudice a pending investigation.

Forgery of a public document is a criminal offence. If charged and found guilty of forgery or fraud, the local lawyer could face a prison term of up to 10 years.