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PM’s lawyer goes after BDS Ltd for settlement

PM’s lawyer goes after  BDS Ltd for settlement

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It was only after it was determined that pharmacist Matthew Thomas was unable to pay a judgement debt against him, that counsel for Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves turned to co-defendant BDS Ltd for settlement.{{more}}

Grahame Bollers, counsel for the Prime Minister told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that late last year, attempts were first made to get the money from Thomas.

“We served a judgement debtor summons on Matthew Thomas and he submitted a financial statement and that revealed that he had nothing for us to go after. We went after him first…,” Bollers said.

BDS Ltd and Thomas are co-defendants in a High Court case in which they were ordered, on February 10, 2012, to pay aggravated damages of $155,000, plus costs of $11,625, plus interest.

BDS Ltd is the company that operates local radio station Nice Radio. BDS Ltd is owned by businessman Douglas DeFreitas.

Bollers said that DeFreitas had complained that he, and not other people, was being targetted.

“But like [Elwardo] Lynch, he (Thomas) has nothing,” the lawyer said.

In February 2013, BDS Ltd paid Gonsalves $206,142.47 for a defamation case which the Prime Minister won against the BDS Ltd and talk show host Elwardo Lynch.

In an interview yesterday, Thomas admitted that he submitted a financial statement to the court in November or December last year.

“Yes, I did all of that. But that was a by-the-way thing. I don’t know how much they dealt with that, because what we were saying is that the matter should go for trial,” Thomas said.

The outspoken pharmacist said when he was served

with the demand for payment last year, BDS Ltd was not served.

“… When I got mine [late last year], BDS did not get any.”

Thomas, however, said that the demand for payment by Counsel for Gonsalves is premature, as the matter is still before the court.

He said in January this year, he, through his new lawyer, Kay Bacchus-Browne, filed an application to set aside the judgement that was obtained in default.

This was confirmed by Bacchus-Browne, who told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that she is still awaiting a date for the application to be heard.

Thomas is of the view that a decision should not have been made in the matter without a defence being filed by the defendants.

“In our laws, matters like these, there are certain cases that summary judgement can be given by a judge or magistrate, but there are certain specified cases that must go for trial and among them is slander, defamation. And I had a lawyer Linton Lewis doing the case, and for whatever reason, best known to him, he never took the case down that route, so when they came with the demand, I went to Kay and she applied to the court, quoting the same section, that the case should go for trial. That was done in January,” Thomas said.

“Dougie was second defendant in the matter. The outcome of my case, would be the result of Dougie’s, so it sound to me like sheer madness to now say you going to lay the claim on Dougie,” Thomas said.

“Let the trial decide the success or failure of the case…. I can’t see how they are demanding now, money from Dougie,” he said.

High Court Judge Jennifer Remy, in her judgement on November 9, 2009, said in the absence of submissions by Counsel for the Defendants, her ruling was based on the submissions of Counsel for the Claimant and on the Court’s own inherent knowledge of the law.

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