Lapsed trade licence proves expensive

Fines total $10,250

A man whose Trade and Business licence expired in 1994 has been fined and ordered to pay for the years before he applied for a renewal.

McKenley McLaren Andrews, 52, appeared in Summary Court for sentencing last week after pleading guilty to carrying on a business without a Trade and Business licence between 30 December 1994 and 30 December 2004. Another charge covered the period 1 January to 24 May 2005.

The defendant had held a licence for McKenley’s Construction.

Crown Counsel Andre Mon Desir advised the court that the Prosecution was seeking $1,000 for each year the licence was lapsed – a total of $10,000.

Defence Attorney Lee Freeman objected. His instructions, he said, were that a licence for a building trade with fewer than 10 people was $750 per year.

Mr. Mon Desir consulted with an Immigration officer and confirmed the lower figure.

Magistrate Grace Donalds imposed a fine of $2,000 for carrying on business from 1995-2004 and ordered Andrews to pay $7,500 costs. She fined him a further $500 for carrying on business in 2005 without the licence.

In lieu of paying the $7,500, time to be served would be four months.

There was also a fine of $250 for a charge of employing another person without a permit, between 20 October and 15 December 2004. Mr. Mon Desir asked that another similar charge be left on file.

The fines and costs totalled $10,250.

Mr. Mon Desir said the matter was brought to the attention of authorities by a woman for whom Andrews was doing renovation work. The woman provided documentation that a man who needed a work permit was employed by Andrews’ company.

The holder of the man’s permit confirmed that he did not have permission to work for anyone else.

Further investigation revealed that the licence for McKenley’s Construction had expired. An application for renewal was received in January 2005 but it was deferred because of pending matters.

Mr. Freeman asked the court to consider that the situation arose from post-Hurricane Ivan reconstruction. Andrews had an oral agreement with the woman, but that agreement resulted in civil litigation. The complaint was brought in that context, he explained.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, Andrews thought he was doing someone a favour, Mr. Freeman told the court. Since then, Andrews had suffered a heart attack and was no longer operating his business. He was now working for someone else.

As to employing someone without a permit, Andrews believed that a letter would be forthcoming from the man’s permit holder, but it never did arrive.

Mr. Freeman submitted that there were no aggravating features to the offences except for the long time the business licence was lapsed.

He asked that his client be allowed to pay the $10,250 at the rate of $100 a week for the next two years.

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