After nine years and more than 50 court appearances, a case involving a transport company charged with failing to contribute to employee pension plans was finalized in court last week.

Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson informed Magistrate Grace Donalds on Thursday that employees of Reid’s Premier Tours had received what was legally theirs and the case could be brought to a close.

The company had initially faced 24 charges of failing without reasonable cause to contribute to a pension plan for an employee. The total amount allegedly due was $37,203.90.

The charges have been before the court since May 2008 and relate to a period between 2003 and 2008. There were also charges of failing to pay arrears within the time allowed by the Superintendent of Pensions and failing without reasonable cause to provide information as requested by the superintendent.

The company was represented by attorneys at various times and more recently by a director of the company, Steve Reid.

Mr. Reid had not agreed with the amount the Pensions Office said was owed. In September 2012, an attorney said it was difficult for her client to answer the charges because he had no records. Immigration officers had seized the records in June 2007 and Mr. Reid had no copies, she said, adding that an affidavit with the date and names of the officers had been filed.

The magistrate suggested that the specific details in the affidavit would refresh someone’s memory and she adjourned the matter for further investigation.

The following month, charges pertaining to three employees were withdrawn.

Notes kept by the Cayman Compass indicate that the matter came before the courts more than 50 times.

On at least one occasion, it was the Pensions Office that wanted more time. On other dates, file notes indicated that discussions were ongoing or that payments were up to date or continuing.

Last week, Mr. Reid presented a receipt to Mr. Ferguson, which the prosecutor handed to the magistrate. It showed a final payment of $14,499.89.

Mr. Ferguson said sentences were usually lenient for a first breach of the law, “but if the breach is repeated, we take a different stance.”

The magistrate noted that a trial date had been set at one stage, but she found no endorsement showing any not guilty pleas.

“No, I did not plead guilty,” Mr. Reid told the court.

The magistrate left all charges on file, meaning that either side could ask to have them brought back in the next few months, but if no action is taken, the charges are dismissed.

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  1. The delays in these pension cases are a national disgrace. Employers should be required to keep proper records and the Pensions Office should monitor this, at least on a “spot check” basis. The cases highlighted in today’s Compass bring to mind the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce immortalised in Dickens’ Bleak House which dragged on for so many years that by the time a verdict was reached most of the plaintiffs were no longer living.