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Jul 31, 2015

Audrey Matura Must Pay $3,000 to Court

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd was ordered today to pay three thousand dollars to Court after Justice Courtney Abel determined that she had breached the confidentiality of a court-connected mediation session held in February. The mediation in question, resolved now, was between grassroots movement BGYEA and the Government of Belize. Matura-Shepherd gave an interview to the media providing information about the terms of the mediation, prompting an application by the attorney for G.O.B.  In his judgment, Justice Abel states that after examination of the evidence, he found the conduct of Matura-Shepherd to be, “without any redeeming quality.” Abel goes further to state that if Matura-Shepherd was aware of or had any appreciation for the rules, her conduct, “even suggests a deliberate and flagrant, even contumacious flouting of such rules by such a breach of its confidentiality provision as to be unimaginable by a responsible Counsel.” And if it wasn’t clear enough, Justice Abel states that the only benefit he could see arising from the Matura-Shepherd’s interview was, “self-publicity for the Defendant’s Counsel, as the contents of such disclosure, it seems to me, tended to undermine even her client’s own interest.” With those scathing remarks – even at one point claiming that Matura-Shepherd made blatant and even veiled aspersions against the opposing attorneys – Justice Abel handed down his sanction of the attorney.

 

Leslie Mendez

Leslie Mendez, Attorney for Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“The Court handed down its decision in respect to an application to sanction Ms. Matura for breach of the confidentiality rules under the CPR, the Supreme Court rules. The judgment today was that she did breach the rules, and there was a sanction imposed of three thousand dollars. But there is a distinction that needs to be made, where the case has actually been reported as a Contempt of Court. So it is necessary to make the distinction and to make it clear that this is a breach of the rules under Part thirty-seven, the mediation rules of the Court. It is not a Contempt of Court and there was a sanction imposed. We will of course consider appealing the decision. The Court said that on a reading of the rules and interpretation of the rules, the rules do cover confidentiality or a prohibition on disclosing out of the mediation session things that were discussed within the mediation session, so that is what made him come to this conclusion.”

 

Matura-Shepherd declined an interview on the matter when she exited the Courtroom today. The mediation was held to settle a dispute between G.O.B. and BYGEA. An urgent ex parte application for an interim injunction was filed in May, 2014, by G.O.B., to restrain the organization from trespassing or otherwise doing anything with certain lands, over sixty acres which reportedly served as a reserve buffer zone at mile forty in the Harmonyville area on the George Price Highway.

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