Two cases against attorney-at-law thrown out
Magistrate Douglas Frederick dismissed the matters in which Philip Vernon Nicholls was accused of stealing $674 172 from Hazel Connor between February 28, 2008 and October 16 that same year; his second charge was that he engaged in money-laundering by disposing of the same funds.
Nicholls, 55, lives at #14 Dover Mews, 3rd Avenue Dover, Christ Church. He was represented by attorney-at-law Elliott Mottley QC.
When the case came before the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court No. 1 last month, the prosecution handed over partial disclosure. The date of August 13 was given as the date for a report of any progress made by the prosecution, in filing an ex-parte application with the High Court to acquire certain documents needed to complete the file.
There was no information forthcoming today in relation to that.
Mottley argued that more than two years had elapsed since Nicholls first came to court and the matter still had not started. He has “a constitutional right to disclosure,” Mottley said, as he made reference to disclosure being handed over in six weeks’ time during his tenure in Bermuda.
The senior lawyer added that Nicholls’ work has also been affected since he has not been able to clear his name.
The magistrate responded by saying that disclosure needed to be made available in a more timely manner since the lack of the production of files was happening “too often.”
‘This puts me in the same position as that other case (recent dismissal of several charges against two men involving over $560 000).
Frederick again referred to upholding his integrity and the fact that he had asked “for certain small goals to be met and they were not achieved…”
“This puts the court in a bad position,” he said.
“It seems as though you all are very slow-moving in that fraud department,” he added.
The magistrate also reminded the prosecution that on a former occasion, attorney-at-law Andrew Pilgrim had also referred to the fact that Nicholls was a lawyer who made his living based on trust and if the matter continued hanging over his head, it would adversely affect his ability to make a living.
“You all have an option; you can re-lodge the matter but today, I am dismissing it,” Frederick said.