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Aug 9, 2017

C.C.J. Says Why Wilfred Elrington Must Return Documents

The Caribbean Court of Justice has issued written reasons for its decision in the case of Progresso Heights Limited versus Wilfred Elrington and Pitts and Elrington. On July twenty-first, the court ordered Elrington and his firm to return all the conveyancing documents that Progresso Heights Limited sent from Florida to Elrington’s wife between September 2009 and June 2010, together with title certificates that had been issued in respect of eight of those documents. Elrington entered an agreement with a father and son from Florida to provide legal services to Lawrence and Adam Schneider to build a community.  But in 2010 dueling lawsuits were filed, the latter being the genesis of this case.  Duties and fees were paid to the Lands Department, but the title certificates had not been delivered. The original judgment in favour of Elrington at the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal was overturned by the CCJ which emphasized that the burden of proof in a civil case is not proof beyond reasonable doubt but proof on a balance of probabilities.  The Justices held that the circumstantial evidence, coupled with some direct evidence, meant that it was more likely that the relevant documents were under the possession of the defendants. But after the court case in July, Elrington maintained that he had no idea what happened to the documents.

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Defendant [File: July 21st, 2017]

“We were arguing a small appeal, where the Courtenay firm was acting on behalf of a company of which I am a shareholder, and the company alleged that they had entered into a contract with me to process certain documents and that we had not processed the documents and we had not delivered them back to them, so he was asking for a delivery back of the documents. The court ordered that the documents be delivered back, I think it is in thirty days. However, our position is that we don’t have the documents, we never had it, so I don’t know what will happen.”

 

Reporter

“What are the documents about?  What is the issue?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“Land transfers; it was when I was in practice and we used to do land transfers.”

 

Reporter

“So you said that the court ordered that those documents be delivered; however you don’t have them.”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I don’t have them.”

 

Reporter

“So what happens then?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I don’t know. My guess is as good as yours. If I don’t have them, I can’t give them up.”

 

Reporter

“And did he show proof that the documents were delivered to your office?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“That was not definitively determined. It was something that happened while I was already in Government and the evidence is, to my mind, absent on that; completely absent.”

 

Reporter

“So what happened to those documents?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I don’t know.”

 

Reporter

“Would you say that you received them?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I didn’t receive them.”

 

Reporter

“Your office received them?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I can’t say that; I have no knowledge if my office received them. That is all it’s about.”

 

Reporter

“And if it doesn’t happen in the next thirty days…”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. You can’t give back what you don’t have.”

 

As Elrington noted, the court said that in the event that the relevant documents had been misplaced, his firm had thirty days from the date of the hearing to deliver to Progresso the relevant documents. 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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