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Mar 23, 2017

G.O.B. Was Acting for U.S. But Who is Responsible?

Knowles and Leach were initially claiming damages in excess of twenty million dollars.  That figure was considerably reduced and after taking into account a number of reasons, the final sum was set at eight point eight million dollars.  While the Government of Belize was only carrying out a request made by the United States, Barrow says that an award for nominal damages would only be fitting.


Reporter

“The government’s position seems to be grounded well in reason that the indictment and the suspension has caused the businesses to be inoperable due to the fact that Titan Securities took a very negative public hit.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Titans International Securities

“That goes to quantum.  In other words, in this case, and the judge said that, he said, “you all are claiming twenty-odd million dollars but I take account of the indictment.  I take account of the bad publicity, I take account of the suspension of the license, I take account of all these factors.  I take account of the way in which your expert report was prepared.  I was not fully satisfied with it and therefore I have to make an adjustment.”  The answer is not that you get zero, it is that there is an adjustment and it’s open to the trial judge who has tried it to make that adjustment.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, did the government, your client, challenge the fact finding that the sewarch and seizure was excessive and abusive?”

 

Denys Barrow

Denys Barrow, Attorney for Government of Belize

“No, well sorry.  In the high court they challenged that they fought everything tooth and nail.  At the Court of Appeal level we took the view, I took the view that certainly there was an excessive seizure.  More was taken away than was properly ought to have been taken away.  But we need to bear in mind and we argued this part of it as well that police taking more than they should when they come to raid somebody’s premises.  Let’s say they come looking for weed or firearms and ammunition, there have been instances or other instances where more has been taken than has anything to do with what they came there for and that does not attract eight point eight million dollars worth of damages.  And we are saying that what took place here was simply, and I say simply by reference to the twenty-three million U.S. which was being claimed.  What took place here was simply the taking away of an office load of equipment, files, computers et cetera, et cetera, but it was not anything more than that.  Government had no beef with these people.  Government had not the slightest interest with these people.  The U.S. made a request for assistance, the assistance was provided and the police went too far in what they took and if some nominal, modest amount of damages, as happens in a normal case were to be given, I’m sure the government would regard this as a proper exercise of the court’s discretion.”

 

The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment on the matter.

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