The Court of Appeal, by a majority decision, allowed an appeal by Desiree Alleyne, a Magistrate sitting in the Jamaican Magistracy, against a decision of former High Court Judge, Justice B.S. Roy, who had granted judgment in the sum of $10M to Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry.
The majority decision to allow the Appeal and order a retrial, was made by Justice of Appeal, Yonnette Cummings-Edwards and additional Judge of the Court of Appeal, Justice James Bovell-Drakes, with the Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh, dissenting.
Justice Roy’s decision was based on a Contract of Guarantee the Bank alleged was signed and entered into by Alleyne on August 9, 1996 before a Notary Public in Jamaica.
The Guarantee purportedly signed by Alleyne, guaranteed a Loan of $10M, which was granted to a Company, Wilzon Enterprise Incorporated that has since gone into liquidation and defaulted on its loan payments with the bank.
The Contract of Guarantee which was purportedly signed by the Appellant in Jamaica was also signed by two employees of the bank as witnesses in Guyana.
The legal battle commenced in March 2002, when the bank filed a writ against Alleyne, who was residing and working in Jamaica as a Magistrate at the time, for the sum of $10M, which was the total sum guaranteed under the Contract of Guarantee.
According to attorney at law Lyndon Amsterdam, Alleyne had denied that she had signed and executed the Contract of Guarantee before a Notary Public, Vincent Chen, in Jamaica.
After a Trial before Justice B.S. Roy, Judgment was granted to the bank in July 2005 and Alleyne subsequently filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Several grounds of appeal were argued before the Court of Appeal by Alleyne’s attorney, Lyndon Amsterdam, of the Law Firm ‘Forde, Amsterdam and Lewis’, while Nikhil Ramkarran of Cameron and Shepherd represented the Guyana Bank of Trade and Industry.
In his arguments before the Court of Appeal, Amsterdam pointed out for the first time that the Writ of Summons filed on behalf of the Bank, did not comply with the Rules of Court and therefore was a nullity.
This was in addition to the fact that the computer generated documents presented to the court by the bank did not comply with the provisions of the Evidence Act and therefore the evidence led before the Court did not prove the case against the Appellant, Alleyne, during the trial.
The attorney also successfully argued that the Contract of Guarantee had two possible dates, when it was signed “9 th August and 19th August, 1996”.
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