BU has received a request for an update to this matter, three years after the case of Nelson Barbados Group Limited v. Barbados and others concluded before the Ontario courts.
From time to time, because this was such a big series for BU and because the final denouement was so shocking, BU has kept tabs on what is going on. So, in response to the request here is what we know that has transpired subsequent to the last report of BU in 2010 on this matter.
PETER ANDREW ALLARD
In or about December 2011, Mr Allard was appointed a Queens Counsel by British Columbia, hot on the heels of his having donated $12 million to the University of British Columbia to endow “Allard Hall”, a law facility. In making his well-publicised donation, Mr Allard urged that “ethics” in law was an area that he devoutly espoused and hoped to encourage, along with what he called the “smell test”. This caused considerable disparaging merriment amongst BU’s legal eagles and, indeed, the legal fraternities of Canada, the States, the UK and Barbados, all of whom had had the advantage of reading the comments of Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy on Mr Allard’s ethics, or rather lack thereof.
While BU’s legal eagles reflect that the system of handing out QCs in British Columbia is in even more parlous state than that of Barbados and that clearly it must follow that a donation to the UBC can more or less buy you what you want, including justice and unfettered access thereto (the Canadian CJ attended the opening of Allard Hall and waxed lyrical about Mr Allard’s contributions to justice), BU chooses to be charitable. BU will err on the side of giving Mr Allard the benefit of the doubt and suggest that, having read the comments levelled at him by Mr Justice Shaughnessy and previously published in BU, Mr Allard decided to take on board what everyone had been telling him and to revise his standards for his “smell test”, to the extent that he no longer sniffs his behind and imagines that it smells of Limacol. Or Bay Rum.
In many ways, what we have uncovered about Marjorie Knox is very sad. Mrs Knox, according to her children and her local attorney-at-law, Mr Alair Shepherd QC, left Barbados, because of threats of violence against her person. This was part of the submissions of Mr.Shepherd before the CCJ in a hearing in or about April 2012 in Barbados.
However, BU, in perusing the McKenzie Files, uncovered a signed letter from Jane Goddard, Knox’s younger daughter to Peter Allard, dated April 12, 2007. In it, Mrs Goddard sets out the plans for herself and her family to relocate to the United States, noting that the application of herself and her husband was originally filed in 2001 and that one of her children has just won the green card lottery. She then goes on:
“Mum is well but her memory is deteriorating. She had a fantastic time with Kathy, John and me and we spent 6 days in Florida last month. Mum began to eat again and the stimulation was very good for her. We saw and improvement. Kathy wants her to move in with her.”
This letter pre-dates by about a year the incidents that led to the complaint that Mrs Knox was at risk of violence in Barbados. The groundwork had already been laid for her move to Florida on the basis of diminishing competence and health. Indeed, as Knox’s Ontario legal counsel, Mr K. William McKenzie, noted in an e-mail to Peter Allard dated February 27, 2008 as he tried his best to make the security of himself, his staff and his client, Mrs Knox, into an issue before the Ontario courts:
“Meeting with John and Jane Iain Kathy went well enough although I am underwhealmed by their reaction to the threats against their mother……..”
BU has long asked the question that, as these threats originated on the Knox’s blog, Keltruth, might it be that the Knox children were the authors of the threats and if so, this would explain why Mr McKenzie was “underwhealmed”.
BU also notes with great interest that in April 2007, just about the time that Marjorie Knox was due to execute certain documents in Florida, Mr McKenzie asked for and received a legal opinion on competence from Florida counsel, Michael Dribbin. Previously, on March 2, 2007, Mr McKenzie, in an e-mail, mentions that he has concerns about Knox’s competence as the result of a meeting with her and that she too complains of her memory.
It is further noted that at least from 2006, Mrs Knox has not sworn any affidavits in her voluminous actions. Instead, these have been sworn by her son, John Knox, who is not a party to any of the actions. A few weeks ago, the Barbados Court of Appeal ordered John Knox to produce the authority by which he swears these affidavits.
It is known that Knox did execute a Trust Deed in Florida that might confer on John Knox the authority. However, given the above questions as to competence and the fact that the legitimacy of that Trust Deed is challenged before the Barbados courts on the grounds of fraud, the Barbados courts may refuse to accept its alleged authority.
As for the fraud action against Knox that would establish, or not, the validity of the Trust Deed, that action commenced hearing before Worrell J in 2009, was adjourned part-heard and 4 years later, the hearing has not recommenced, in the usual style and practice of the Barbados courts and Registry that has brought Barbados’ justice system into such disrepute.
It would seem to BU that maybe the Barbados courts, acting in concert with the Florida welfare authorities, ought to investigate if Knox’s legal rights are being usurped and if she is a victim of elder abuse. By “elder abuse”, BU does not in any way mean to imply that she is being maltreated by her daughter with whom she is living. However, “elder abuse” also covers incidents where her legal rights are being improperly usurped.
In whatever way we look at it, though, it is a sad thing to watch a Bajan woman in her 90s become the victim of misplaced confidence in foreign manipulators with the actual connivance of her own family. Which the Privy Council and the Ontario courts by their decisions, would seem to suggest.
It is reported and alleged by Mrs Knox’s family sources in Barbados that Mrs Knox is now suffering from advanced senile dementia. While our sympathy goes to her family and particularly her children, if these allegations are true, then their bona fides are highly suspect.
It is BU’s understanding gained from the submissions of Mr Leslie Haynes QC before the CCJ in April 2012 that Mrs Knox and Mr Allard have launched and are proceeding with an action in Florida that is a reprise of the two that they have already lost before the Privy Council and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. On what authority from Mrs Knox, we are forced to ask?
KENNETH WILLIAM MCKENZIE (aka “Little Billy Goat”)
In 2010, almost all defendants’ counsel in the Ontario action filed a complaint, with the encouragement and request of the judge, with the Law Society of Upper Canada. BU is told that recent information out of the LSUC has indicated that its investigations are complete and that this month, June 2013, it will be making its recommendations. BU will track this matter to its conclusion.
DONALD ROBERT BEST
Mr Best was the sole officer of the shell company known as Nelson Barbados Group Limited, through which Mrs Knox/Mr Allard brought their action in Ontario. As BU reported on January 17 2010, along with copies of the Certificate of Committal, Mr Best was convicted and sentenced in absentia for contempt of court. Thus he became a fugitive of Canadian justice, residing with his Thai wife in Thailand.
However, in or about October 2012, Ontario counsel for Mr Best entered an appearance on his behalf before Mr Justice Bryan Shaughnessy, seeking to have the conviction and sentence set aside. However, Ontario counsel for Barbados and the majority of the Barbados defendants (Mr Silver) and counsel for PricewaterhouseCoopers (Mr Ranking) opposed Mr Best’s application and a month or so ago when Mr Best arrived back in Canada, he was arrested and put in jail, where he remains.
BU’s latest information is that Mr Best’s counsel has filed for Habeas Corpus, seeking the setting aside of the contempt citation. But this is resisted by Messrs Ranking and Silver on behalf of their clients. And they can hardly be blamed as Mr Best, Mrs Knox and Mr Allard are up to the same stunt in Florida.
ALAIR PAUL SHEPHERD QC
Well, as every Bajan knows, Mr Shepherd is reverting to his childhood by mooning people in court corridors. Nuff said. It also seems that, on Mrs Knox’s behalf, the authority for which seems questionable, Mr Shepherd has brought proceedings to have matters that are before the courts and assigned to judges and some part-heard, set aside on the basis of “lack of prosecution by the plaintiffs”. As this matter is before the courts, BU will not comment further – for the moment.
BU will not be concerned with the Florida action unduly, unless something occurs to make us take action. We take the view of “been there, seen it, done it”. We have the numbers of the participants, as has all of Barbados and the legal fraternities of several countries, except, it appears for BC and the Chief Justice of Canada. But we have continued to watch things with great care and we note that the Knox/Allard faction no longer seeks to buy or manipulate the blogs and international press, which therefore makes the matter of lesser interest to BU. It was this manipulation of blogs and press by the Knox/Allard faction that brought BU into the matter in the first place.
We hope this answers the request made of BU and updates those who have followed the Other Side of Kingsland series.