Emergency court hearing held

Windsor Village trial

Justice Alexander Henderson granted on Friday an application to admit into evidence several documents that were apparently not disclosed by the attorneys Sagicor General Insurance Company (Cayman) Ltd. in the trial to award damages to several plaintiffs countersuing the company.

The trial, which came to an end on 2 September was resumed by emergency on the 3 September, after attorneys for John and Robert Hurlstone, Hurlstone Ltd, Alastair Paterson, Bould Patterson Ltd, Crawford Adjusters (Cayman) Ltd. and Hurlstone General Contractors discovered documents in the witness box while putting together papers.

The documents, which consist of correspondence from Quin and Hampson, have since been linked to Simon Dickson. Mr. Dickson, an attorney for Morant De Jeune, which was formerly Quin and Hampson,. was instrumental in the initial case alleging fraud and conspiracy against the now plaintiffs.

An emergency application to admit the documents on behalf of the plaintiffs followed shortly after, bringing all parties back to court.

Walkers Attorney Nick Dunne claimed the material was privileged and his side thought it was understood that some things were such and others were not, as a result of inferences made from correspondence between the plaintiffs’ representation and Sagicor’s attorneys.

However Justice Henderson said his impression was that Sagicor had waved its client privilege in a general regard by way of conduct, in that they adduced the testimony of Mr. Dickson during trial and allowed him to be cross examined without objection on the grounds of privilege.

Mr. Henderson added that it was right for Sagicor’s attorneys to do so and in the best interest of their client, considering the basis of their case was that they brought allegations of fraud and conspiracy against the now plaintiffs in the case as a result of receiving advice from Quin and Hampson.

Their original case, however, was abandoned on the eve of trial.

In Friday’s proceedings, Tom Lowe QC, who is acting on behalf of the Hurlstones in the matter, reminded the court of crucial testimony given during the trial by Mr. Dickson that went directly to communication. He said by this course of action, Sagicor’s attorneys had explicitly waived any right to privilege.

In his ruling, Justice Henderson agreed with attorneys for the plaintiffs, saying he was satisfied that privilege had been waived.

‘The documents are disclosable now and should have been earlier,’ he said.

Mr. Henderson added that the documents were only discovered by accident and should have been disclosed when Mr. Dickson took the stand – ‘at the very latest’.

He added that he was also willing to accept the documents into the evidence to be considered and make them a part of the record.

Mr. Lowe made a further request to have affidavits signed by Sagicor and Walkers saying no more such documents existed.

Mr. Dunne replied he could not do so, as there was roughly five binders of information with 2,000 e-mails that had also not been seen by the plaintiffs and their attorneys, which his team felt might be privileged.

The Judge allowed 14 days for Mr. Dunne to compile all the information in a detailed and concise manner and vowed that affidavits to be signed would be granted to the plaintiffs’ attorneys if this was not done swiftly.

Mr. Henderson added that the possibility that the Walkers attorneys were badly in breech of their disclosure obligations cannot be ignored and the attorneys should have instead have come to his Chambers and asked for a ruling on the material.