The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) has denied an application for a stay of the order of Justice Errol Thomas in a matter of trespass between Blaircourt Property Development Ltd owned by Renneth Alexis and Atherton Martin, Dr. Clayton Shillingford, Severin McKenize, and Joan Etienne.
Justice Thomas ruled that Martin, McKenzie and Etienne each must pay Alexis $1,500 “by way of damages for trespass since they entered at least one villa.” Dr. Shillingford and Frederick Baron must pay $1,000.00 each to the claimant, the Judge ruled.
Additionally, Thomas ruled that each claimant must pay $5,000 in exemplary damages.
Martin et al filed an appeal 48 days out of time and needed the court’s permission to proceed but by order of a single Judge, that was denied – hence the appeal.
But after listening to the comments of the Judges, lawyer for the parties, Cara Shillingford, withdrew the appeal for the stay and proceeded with the appeal on the extension of time.
She told the court that her clients have “a very good chance of success of winning the appeal” and urged them to so grant the extension. The delay, she said, is not “inordinate” and will in no way affect the respondents. She said her case will center on the exemplary damages which were awarded with no reasons given by the trial judge.
But in response, attorney for Blair Court Property Development Ltd, Heather Felix Evans, asked the court to deny the extension of time saying that they were seeking to gain “political advantage” when they trespassed on the property of the respondents.
In handing down its decision, which was delivered by Justice of Appeal Anthony Webster QC, the court ordered that 1. The application for leave is refused; 2. Application for an extension of time which was refused by a single Judge on May 28th, 2015 is granted; 3.The order of the single Judge is set aside; 4. The appellants have 21 days from the date of this decision to file and 5. Cost of EC$1,500 for both applications to be met by the appellants.
Cara Shillingford, lawyer for the appellants, said “I am very satisfied with the decision….there are clearly merits in the appeal which had errors and which will now be considered by the Court of Appeal.”
Meantime lawyer for the respondents, Heather Felix Evans, said the “substantive matter has to be heard at the court of appeal at some point”. She said she is happy that the “stay” which was requested by the appellants was not granted.
“She had requested a stay of the proceedings so that they do not pay the judgment debt until the appeal but she withdrew it and in any case, like they said, if she had proceeded they would not have granted the stay. It means now that they have to pay it…if at the court of appeal the decision is over turned, then the claimant will have to repay the money,” she said.
She explained that once a court grants an order it has to be obeyed until over turned by a higher court.
She said her party has also filed for judgment summons and may examine if they have grounds for cross appeals.