Acting High Court Judge James Bristol on Thursday ruled that several Claimants to land in Providence Estate were not the rightful owners. They have been ordered to pay more than EC$150,000 in costs to Providence Estate Ltd (PEL).
The judgment stated that PEL did not consent to any of the land purchases although the Claimants believed they had made the purchase of land in good faith from a lawyer who was believed to have been acting on behalf of the estate.
Claimants, who included Kenneth Allen, Alyn Russel Krause, Phillip Brelsford and Joel Osborne, were represented by the law firm of Kharl Markham. Following the criminal convictions of lawyer Warren Cassell (WC) in February 2012 on conspiracy to defraud PEL and/or Director and Shareholder Owen Rooney, the claimants wanted to confirm the legitimacy of the titles to the parcels they purchased through Cassell.
Judge Bristol said “I therefore find as a fact that the Claimants never, either by themselves or by their lawyer, carried out the necessary due diligence checks on PEL by having recourse to the company’s records but relied on WC’s representations and acts as evidence that WC was authorised to act on behalf of PEL.”
“Prudent business practice dictates that when someone is purchasing from a company, inquiries must be made by way of conducting a search at the company’s registry to ascertain the standing of the company, the officers authorised to transact the business of the company and the manner in which the authority of those officers is to be carried out.”
The ruling stated that in the case of Claimants Kenneth Allen & Ors, they are not the absolute owners of Block 13/10 Parcel 59. PEL is the absolute owner. The claimants are ordered to “pay to the Defendants prescribed costs on the value of the Claim which I deem to be the purchase price of EC$414,967.25 and which costs amount to EC$50,646.72.”
In the case of Claimants Alyn Krause & Anr, they are not the absolute owners of Block 13/10 Parcel 14. PEL is the absolute owner. Claimants must pay to the Defendants prescribed costs of EC$61,361 on the purchase price of EC$537,300.
Phillip Brelsford is not the absolute owner of Block 13/10 Parcel 15. He is ordered to pay costs of EC$29,500 on the value of the Claim deemed to be the purchase price of EC$216,000.
Joel Osborne is not the absolute owner of the Block 13/10 Parcel 56 and ordered to pay EC$10, 125 in costs on the value of the claim deemed to be the purchase price of EC$67,500.
In each case, the land register must be rectified pursuant to Section 140 of the Registered Land Act by removing the Claimants as the Registered Proprietors and substituting PEL as Registered Proprietor.