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Feb 17, 2015

Supreme Court Orders Senior Counsel Ernest Staine to Pay Off Monies Owed

Ernest Staine

No legal professional in Belize’s history has ever been incarcerated for misappropriation of money entrusted to them by clients, but this morning senior attorney, Ernest Staine, almost became the first. Staine has been ordered by the court to pay back monies which were given to him for handling a land transaction between buyer and seller. Forward in Faith Ministries on Douglas Jones Street purchased a piece of land in Belize City from the McField family, and the money was paid into an account held by Staine. He never paid it over to the seller. Despite the court order, Staine has not made good on repeated commitments to pay back the monies, and the court’s patience and that of the claimants has just about run out. Mike Rudon was at court this morning and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Senior attorney Ernest Staine appeared completely unconcerned as he headed into the courtroom of Justice Courtney Abel at ten this morning. But the matter before the Court is a serious one, and has been ongoing since last year. Staine has been found guilty of very serious financial misconduct in a land transaction.


Julie-Ann Ellis Bradley

Julie-Ann Ellis Bradley, Attorney for Claimant

“This claim arises because Mr. Ernest Staine as an attorney at law acted in a land transaction and held monies in escrow for the payment of the purchase price for the sale of the property. At the time when this claim was filed, it was not clear whether those monies were still being held by Mr. Staine and had not been paid over to the clients, or whether in fact he has dissipated the funds, so the claim was with respect to fraudulent conversion of those monies, and also breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.”


A freeze order was obtained on Staine’s assets, and he was also ordered to disclose all assets held in Belize, including those held in trust for clients. That order was made in October 2014, and up to earlier this month he had not complied, thus the application for him to be held in contempt. On February second Staine was found to be in contempt, and an order for his committal was made if there was no disclosure. That disclosure, in the form of an affidavit, has since been made.


Julie-Ann Ellis Bradley

“The information unfortunately shows, and this information was not made available until Friday, and then further information on Monday…the information unfortunately shows that though the money was wired to Mr. Staine’s account none of those accounts have more than twenty thousand dollars in it. We are speaking about a claim for a sum of two hundred and thirty thousand dollars, which is the remaining sum that Mr. Staine held, and when you add all the monies indicated in those accounts, there is not more than thirty thousand dollars spread across all accounts.”


Denys Barrow, Attorney for Ernest Staine

“There is a judgment which has been pronounced against Mr. Staine, and the principal issue now is how to go about enforcing that judgment, so that is a matter that the Court is dealing with. Mr. Staine is trying his best or will try his best to assist in that process to allow the money to be collected, to have the money paid.”


Staine has been given until March seventeenth to provide bank statements and supporting documents to verify amounts in bank accounts and value of assets held. There was also an application made for a committal order on the ground that despite undertakings to make some payment on the judgment, Staine has not done so to date. That matter had been adjourned to March thirtieth. He was represented today by Senior Counsel Denys Barrow.


Denys Barrow

“You all were present in Court and you see that it is a very grave and serious matter that we are dealing with. The Bar Association takes it very seriously. Mr. Staine takes it very seriously and we hope that an outcome will emerge which will be broadly satisfactory and will be the right outcome.”


Denys Barrow

Julie-Ann Ellis Bradley

“We are here dealing with a matter where you have a church, and a lady who is eighty-four years old, who because of the conduct of Mr. Staine, which is egregious on any account, they are left for almost two years…when that transaction started…they now are forced to trudge down the road of enforcement, and recovery, and all of this, and justice happens, and it grinds slowly, but I think that it is time that this is assessed, and looked at. I think that when we speak about justice there is something wrong with this picture.”


Bradley says she will do whatever is necessary by law to ensure that her clients get justice. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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4 Responses for “Supreme Court Orders Senior Counsel Ernest Staine to Pay Off Monies Owed”

  1. Spike says:

    Staine looks like a zombie. I hope the money can be recovered.

  2. easy glenn says:

    this guy is the biggest theif i have ever known Ask him about the 350,000 he stole from the estate of Mr Middleton Estate Am so glad the God no the sleep got u NOW PAY you thief!!!

  3. Rod says:

    This guy has always been a thief you can imagine how many poo people he has stolen in the past 15 yrs only in belize an attorney can get away with this kind of theft

  4. Al says:

    Another lawyer stealing their clients money. Nothing new. Just that this one got in the news.

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