Tales From the Courts – Bar Association Complicit XXII

Therold O'neal Fields, another thieving lawyer?

Therold O’neal Fields, another thieving lawyer? – Photo credit: Nation Newspaper

Given the fact that the Bar Association (BA) has now debunked Barry Gale as its president, the actions by the Chief Justice (CJ) in interfering in matters in which he has no authority must now raise the suspicion that the CJ’s conduct was designed to shore up Barry Gale’s position as president of the BA, given the fact that the BA is contemplating taking legal action against the CJ. Whether this was the CJ’s intent or not, is now a moot point as Barry Gale has been voted out of office and Tariq Khan into office.

BU family member Pachamama raised some interesting points recently concerning what happens to lawyers who appropriate money from clients’ funds. BU did a little research on one such case, that of attorney Therold Fields, which provides the template of how things are done in Barbados – See $700,000 theft charge.

The Disciplinary Committee of the BA referred the matter of Mr Fields to the Court of Appeal. And, predictably, in the last week or so, the Court of Appeal adjourned its hearing. Meanwhile, so far as BY can discover, no criminal proceedings for theft have been commenced by the DPP against Mr Fields. And Mr Fields continues to have the right to practice law.

Why has Mr Fields not been criminally indicted? Why has Mr Fields not been suspended from the practice of law? Why is the CJ usurping an authority that he does not have to go after attorneys who are lawfully practicing law and NOT making free with their clients’ money, but merely insisting on their right under the Constitution not to join an association?

It has also been suggested that we should do away with the UK systems. How the UK system treats with clients’ funds is interesting. We can clearly see that Barbados is very far what is practiced in the UK system.

  • In the UK, there are solicitors and barristers. Solicitors have to be members of the Law Society and barristers have to be members of the inns of court.

  • Clients do not instruct and pay barristers, this is done by their solicitors and payment from clients’ funds is only made to the barrister once costs are taxed and it is made by the solicitor, not the client.

  • Each year, solicitors have to submit their accounts to the Law Society for auditing and it is only after the Law Society has satisfied itself that these accounts are in order that the solicitor is issued a practice certificate.

This is not to say that there are no “irregularities” in the UK with solicitors and clients’ funds, merely that if there are, these are likely to be discovered annually by the Law Society and, until the solicitor has satisfied the Law Society, they cannot practice law.

Another BU family member Jeff Cumberbatch posted a comment on another blog which referred to Belize, which has the same conditions as those in our Constitution and Legal Professions Act, in which there is the complaint that the BA of Belize does nothing. And the same can be said of the Barbados Bar Association – BECAUSE the BA is allowed by law to call on any attorney to have their accounts audited, but has always failed to do this, until the cat is out of the bag.

Let us not forget about the Compensation Fund. Every year upon paying their fees for their practice certificates, every attorney is required to pay a fixed sum in addition that is remitted to the BA, the purpose being to compensate clients for “irregularities” perpetrated by attorneys. As BU has previously pointed out, this account runs into the millions of dollars and the only removals that have been from it have been to pay for the advertising of the estates of deceased attorneys – see Tales from the Courts.

Is it any wonder, therefore, that a growing number of attorneys have exercised their constitutional right not to enter into association with the BA? Indeed, given the eminence and the respect in which these dissenting attorneys are held, it may be safer to select an attorney on the basis of their NOT being a member of the BA where membership seems to assure an apparent immunity from criminal prosecution and suspension pending an investigation taking years.

Meanwhile, Mr Fields continues to have a legal right to practice law in Barbados, while the CJ is illegitimately seeking to deny audience and reclaim the practice certificates of attorneys who choose to exercise their constitutional rights.

BU’s open invitation to anyone who can help to shed light on the deteriorating legal system please send via our confidential inbox – click here.

120 comments

  • @ Ross
    You are still a schmuk.
    +++++++++++++++++
    LOL Hahahahahaha
    …make that a bush schmuk

    Good one!

    Like

  • The CJ now get around to the fact the majority of Bdos’ lawyers are a dishonest bunch of thieves and crooks? Oh well better late than never.

    Like

  • @Pachamama | July 14, 2014 at 4:25 PM | Where have you seen me insisting on any such thing? Point it out to me, please. I have stated how things used to be and invited you and everyone to telephone your bank and to enquire how one goes about setting up an escrow account.

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  • @Bush Tea | July 14, 2014 at 4:32 PM | You like you trying to take over from Baffy as the world’s greatest agent provocateur. I needed a laugh today, after I saw M Gibson’s response in the Nation and Barbados Today. Put foot in mouth, remove said foot and re-insert other foot. Then take other foot out of mouth and insert both feet. The man is a walking disaster area. It is almost as if he wants to be fired.

    Like

  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    @Robert Ross

    An honest man would not have a problem saying that he is honest and that he earn his keep by the sweat of his brow. A dishonest man on the other hand if he has a conscience, will find grave difficulty in saying he is honest when he knows he is not. A liar can tell you upfront that he is honest when he is dishonest because he no longer has conscience. Many of the politicians and their lackeys can identify with the latter.

    I can tell you point blank that the SSS, have worked hard for the few comforts she has earn. She never laid on her back to earn her keep but now her keep is earn and establish GAW BLIMAH she ain’t afraid to play with the sexes :). Be that as it may, she has never taken a bride or have never made a deal for a draw back. The SSS might be whore, bitch and a lesbian but one thing she is not is a crook who steals tax payers money to perpetuate riches gain for rich living. No Mr. Ross you do not have to tell me if you are corrupt but the mere fact you cannot gives me an impression of you.? What questions you think are raised in my mind by your response. I mean you really do not have to give a rats ass what I think after all we cybering. But I can easily tell you that I am not corrupt but certainly a bitch when I want to be. If you are honest Robert Ross can you say the same.in all honesty that you are not corrupt. Hmmmmmm

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  • It is also unusual that CJ’s are not chosen from among practicing experienced Supreme Court Judges.
    To my layman’s thinking that suggest that the Judges are not very good.

    Now let us move on to dealing with the Lawyers who are borrowing money from their Client’s account and not being able to repay it.

    There must be enough Lawyers in Barbados who would be willing to fight to change the laws so that Client’s cash is held in a Commercial bank.

    If you do not try to fix the problem you are complicit in the actions of the few thieves among you.
    You have the means to effect change. It is called the Bar Association. It is not enough to come on BU and spar with Bushie just because he know everything.

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  • Amused and Ross…….I read the CJ’s reply, it appears he is willing to work with everyone, maybe he can be given the benefit of the doubt until it is shown, which should not take very long, that he is unable to bell the cat.

    Something needs to be done with the lawyers who are giving the profession a really bad name.

    Something needs to be done with the Judges who refuse to work and aid in the piling up of cases to the detriment of the countries’ reputation and ability to attract investors, all the unnecessary adjournments and years to decades old delays in rendering decisions/judgments, to the detriment of the state owned Transport Board, to the detriment of frustrated attorneys and their horribly affected, in some cases, clients.

    Time to get the politics out of the court system, if David Simmons is hovering around, get rid of him and his corrupt, blighted policies. Get rid of the insurance companies who blight the court system with their greed.

    There needs to be a massive cleanup, to achieve this i believe that all hands now need to be on deck…that is presuming from the PM’s office down to the Court employees are interested in seeing positive changes.

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  • not only did the courts have a backlog, but the attorneys’ body was challenged with dealing with the issue of dishonesty

    the attorneys’ body was challenged with dealing with the issue of dishonesty

    the attorneys’ body was challenged with dealing with the issue of dishonesty

    WHY IS THIS A CHALLENGE?

    Like

  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    @Hants

    Its challenge because the dishonest ones are the establish ones and have ties to politics. Ain’t that a challenge nah

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  • Why do you think Hants?
    ….because Dodds is not big enough to hold the amount of lawyers that we would have to send up if somebody started locking up dishonest lawyers….
    Don’t talk bout if somebody started looking at land deeds…..
    Shiite!!!
    You feel we got money to build another Dodds now…?

    Um is a big challenge fuh truth yuh….

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  • Hants……..it’s simple, they all know the corrupt things each other do, the challenge is in getting them to change their nasty, greedy ways, it has made some of the lawyers in Barbados very wealthy….and most would not want to deviate from corruption and stealing, ask David Simmons.

    The CJ should take all clients money out of the hands of the attorneys, make sure they get their fees, make sure the Judges finish all cases in a timely fashion so that the attorneys can be paid, prolonging cases for 2-22 years will ensure the attorney has to find ways to make a living, what comes easier is dipping their hands into clients money, it’s a trickle down effect, if the Judges do not do their jobs, it will affect many people, plaintiffs don’t get their settlements, lawyers don’t get their fees, etc..etc…i do not understand why they are making it harder than it should be.

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  • As one coming up to manhood in a colonial polity,I can only with a high degree of embarrassment decry the state of governance in an independent Barbados.I have come to regret the passing and destruction of the respect for the law and the order which existed all around me,from Primary to Secondary school.At Primary level our headtacher referred to those boys entrusted with authority as ‘Orderlies’ while at Secondary they were called ‘Prefects’ .In both cases they instilled a certain fear in us,and so it was easy for us to learn to respect policemen,firemen,postmen,teachers,
    bus conductors,shopkeepers etc.
    Respect is not to be demanded but commanded.In my work experience,I have seen the disrespect trade unionism has engendered in the office.I see nothing good coming out of a future Barbados and so I encouraged my children to emigrate and raise their offspring in a more enlightened society.
    Barbados is taken over by philistines.

    Like

  • What the CJ had to say did not strike me as forcibly as the fact he said it in a telephone interview from Trinidad!!

    I have heard the theory expressed before that the Trinis’ thought they were buying old time Bajan credibility in a world where they are not considered to be the most upright!!

    The theory goes on to say that the court system has to be fixed because the new owners of Barbados need for it to be fixed otherwise they may end up holding a pig in a poke.

    …. just a theory I heard …. but, we shall see!!

    The silk glove on the hand that the CJ extended may contain an iron fist!!

    Of course the CJ may be just paying a courtesy visit to the CCJ.

    Carnival is done long time ago.

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  • Does the CJ not realise that in making reference to the attorney at law who is presently before the Court of Appeal and therefore sub judice that he has disqualified himself and his Court of Appeal from playing any further part in that matter? And why does the CJ think he had to get involved in a public row with the Bar Association which to its credit has kept silent?

    Like

  • John | July 15, 2014 at 3:27 PM |
    What the CJ had to say did not strike me as forcibly as the fact he said it in a telephone interview from Trinidad!!

    That too strike me that he was interviewed from Trinidad. What he doing there. Looks like he is in Trinidad a lot. One hopes its because of CCJ. Trinidad has nothing to offer in terms of law and order and jurisprudence.

    Like

  • Gabriel, don’t be so pessimistic with exile as the alternative to meaningful and necessary institutional change in Barbados. History is full of reformers from within. I know we like ready-dune solutions but institutional reform comes about either by revolutionary upheaval or from reformers within the system working towards those changes. Don’t give up.

    Like

  • Just Curious

    You have a strong point.

    Like

  • @Gabriel July 15, 2014 at 12:53 PM ” I encouraged my children to emigrate and raise their offspring in a more enlightened society.”

    And pray tell me where is that more enlightened society?

    Like

  • The BA issued the following statement under the name of the last BA president earlier this year, BU believes the message is known but the problem remains, how do the stakeholders solve.

    https://barbadosunderground.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/press-statement-on-slow-judgments.pdf

    Like

  • @well well,
    hello! I’m back. Hope you are well.
    Alvin cummins.

    Like

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