Clarke loses appeal in suit against First Caribbean

Eight years after Shirley Clarke was fired from First Caribbean International Bank (Barbados) Limited for violating the bank’s code of conduct, gross negligence and misconduct, and just under seven years after then magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne ruled in the bank’s favour, the Court of Appeal has upheld the magistrate’s ruling.

The three-member panel, comprising Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson and Justices of Appeal Andrew Burgess and Kaye Goodridge, Wednesday dismissed a request by Clarke for an extension and struck out the notice of appeal on the grounds that the appellant should have applied in writing within seven days of the magistrate’s ruling.

In fact, the court said it had no jurisdiction to extend the time for giving notice of appeal and therefore “the proceedings before us are really a nullity”.

Clarke was fired on October 20, 2009 after the bank determined that he had mishandled a series of transactions revolving around a US$96,000 cheque deposited by longstanding customer Margaret Daniel, and purportedly drawn on an account at a bank in the United States .

As the assistant customer service manager, Clarke authorized the deposit and asked the customer service officer (CMO) to place a 30-day hold on the cheque.

However, when Daniel returned the following day and the day after with what was thought to be approval from the Central Bank for the transfers of  US$15,000 and US$60,000 respectively, Clarke violated the 30-day hold by authorizing both transactions, the court found.

The US$96,000 cheque was subsequently dishonoured by First Caribbean International, which tried in vain to recover the money from the customer, and Clarke was subsequently sacked for, among other things, “not correcting the CSOs error and failing to question the source of the funds”.

Cooke-Alleyne, now Supreme Court Registrar, ruled against the fired bank employee on December 10, 2010, and more than 30 days later, his attorney Hal Gollop, QC, lodged an application before the Court of Appeal asking for more time to challenge the magistrate’s decision.

It has taken the court nearly seven years to dismiss that request, while ordering Clarke to pay costs to First Caribbean International to the tune of $4,000, plus Value Added Tax (VAT), on, or before December 15, 2017.

The three-member panel also noted that the bank’s attorney Edmund Hinkson had argued that the notice of appeal should be thrown out on the grounds that it was filed 32 days after the magistrate rendered her decision and not within the seven days required under Section 240 (2) of the Magistrate’s Court Act, Cap 116A of the Laws of Barbados.

The judges also drew attention to Gollop’s admission that he thought the rules required an appeal of this kind to be filed within 28 days.

“Mr Gollop, QC, sought the extension of time on several grounds including that the lapse of time between the decision and the application was minimal, a ‘mere’ 23 days, and the extension would in no way prejudice the respondent bank,” the justices said.

In its decision, the court admitted it had made an error when it granted Gollop time to file the appeal outside of the stipulated period and was now backtracking, “since we had no jurisdiction to permit such an application” and that the application, which was filed on July 21, 2014, and the notice of appeal “must be struck out”.

In commenting on the ruling, Hinkson said the decision settles once and for all, the law of Barbados that an appeal from a decision of a magistrate to a higher court must be filed in writing before the higher court within the stipulated time.

16 Responses to Clarke loses appeal in suit against First Caribbean

  1. Saga Boy November 2, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    If You break the rules you suffer the consequences.

  2. Tony Webster November 3, 2017 at 6:05 am

    There are consequences for doing the wrong thing, and consequences for failing to do the right thing. Pity that Justicia is not only blinded, but either is paralysed, or suffers from M.S. and moves so s-l-o-w-l-y. When our Courts act in this manner, might they consider saying “sorry” to those affected parties?
    “Swift Justice”….evidently…departed! Yes…both intentional.

  3. Everick November 3, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Wait you mean to tell me that “I a Lawyer” don’t know the law or didn’t check it with respect to the length of time that you have to file a simple appeal? He thought!!!
    I bet you he is a politician

  4. Sam Clarke November 3, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Now he should start a lawsuit against Hal Gollop for legal mal practice .

  5. Mark Rosmar November 3, 2017 at 8:30 am

    What’s a CMO? It’s unclear. And, am I missingg something: what about Ms Daniel, wasn’t reimbursement required from her?

  6. Just saying.... November 3, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Pity these judges do not hear ALL decisions on enforcement of limitation periods. This is why all professionals(lawyers, doctors engineers etc.) should be mandated to carry compulsory Errors & Omissions Insurance.

  7. just observing November 3, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Maybe he was too busy minding Missing In Action business.

  8. roger headley November 3, 2017 at 9:09 am

    To show good faith, Hal should pay the $4000 + VAT for his client and do not change him for the flawed representation

  9. Donild Trimp November 3, 2017 at 11:51 am

    This is such an elementary mistake by Mr.Gallop.

    Every first year law student knows how important it is to file your briefs within the limitation periods especially when it comes to filing an appeal.

    “Mr Gollop, QC, sought the extension of time on several grounds including that the lapse of time between the decision and the application was minimal, a ‘mere’ 23 days, and the extension would in no way prejudice the respondent bank”

    Really Hal? I am sure you yourself did not believe that warped piece of logic.

    Just tell the truth Hal. You told your client you were going to file an appeal and just did not put in the work to do it.

    Cannot say you forgot because when the deadline for filing is just seven days, that seven day period sticks in your mind from day one.

    Procrastination, That is how I see it.

  10. Donild Trimp November 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Hal, I did not intentionally spell your surname incorrectly.

    Correction: “Gollop”.

  11. luther thorne November 3, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    I wonder if His boss and good friend and probably mentor or associate would have operated the same way. Ah wonder!

  12. straight talk November 3, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    This is an example for those who like to bend the rules.

  13. North poiint November 3, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Something wrong here, the bank teller took a U$96,000 Cheque, but I noticed that a U$60,000 & a U$15,000 were mentioned, where did the other U$21,000 go, to the teller??????
    Mr.Gollop should be made to pay cost, its about time that Layers in BIM have malpractice insurance

  14. Oliver Smith November 3, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Another one bites the dust.

  15. Showneil November 4, 2017 at 7:59 am

    This is why our court system is slow. Mr. Gollop should have known that he was late in submitting his challenges and not waste the court’s time in trying to have the timing waved for this instance. I am not sure that all the facts have been presented in this media, however the law is the law and such a learned comrade should have made this known to his client.
    Please do not waste the court’s time when you know you are wrong. Plead guilty and ask for mercy, if that is available in this instance.

  16. Lennox hewitt November 5, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Hal could not sign a pasdport form for me i no he is a good lawyer but he should no the stipulation time for any case he working on how come i no it is 7 days and he take that long to file n the states england or canada he Hal b sue for Malpractice and may even get debaredbut Hal n surprise me doe that is why anything i doing legally i dont want no top lawyers cause dum got nuff money n land and dum does keep u back for years n then when u go u hear statue of limitation run out its 7 or 30 working days.


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