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Judge Calls Nygard’S Bias Accusation ‘Scandalous’

PETER NYGARD

PETER NYGARD

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A JUDGE did not mince her words yesterday in declaring that Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s “scandalous” accusations of the court’s bias in matters stemming from an ongoing judicial review were without merit and undermined “the administration of justice”.

Justice Rhonda Bain was asked to recuse herself of committal proceedings involving Mr Nygard through a notice of motion filed in the Supreme Court by his lawyer, Elliot Lockhart, QC, on the ground of bias. The motion also showed that Mr Nygard was seeking an order to stay all further proceedings against him pending the hearing of the motion.

However, in a judgment handed down yesterday, the judge rejected Mr Nygard’s recusal application.

Her ruling said: “The court finds that the fifth respondent (Mr Nygard) has not proved there was evidence of bias or apparent bias towards the fifth respondent and therefore refuses the application for recusal.”

“The application by the fifth respondent is unmeritorious,” the judge stressed.

“The court finds the allegation of bias by (Mr Nygard) scandalous and undermines the administration of justice. It is scandalous to allege that the court collaborated with the applicant (Save The Bays) to have the fifth respondent appear in court to enable them to effect service on the fifth respondent. The record in the proceedings on June 19, 2015, which is attached to the affidavit of Keod Smith, would show that the fifth respondent was released after discussion with counsel and the court with respect to convenient dates for the hearing of the notice of motion.”

“Counsel for (Mr Nygard) was invited to consult his client with respect to his schedule. After this was done, counsel for the applicant and counsel for the fifth respondent agreed dates for the hearing of the notice of motion and for a visit to the site in question.”

On June 18, 2015, Justice Bain had ordered that Mr Nygard be present in court the next day for the committal hearing against him regarding the alleged October 2014 dredging at his Lyford Cay property and to determine whether or not he was in breach of an injunction against him.

Mr Nygard was served with the second motion outside the courtroom.

In a previous affidavit in support of Justice Bain recusing herself from Mr Nygard’s committal hearings on the grounds of bias, Mr Nygard’s former attorney Keod Smith stated that both he and his client took the position that Mr Nygard was ordered to remain in court that day “for the sole purpose of affording and/or facilitating” Fred Smith, QC, in serving the fashion designer with the legal notice, notwithstanding Save The Bay’s (STB) alleged numerous failed attempts to previously serve Mr Nygard with the documents.

In that affidavit, dated September 17, 2015, Keod Smith also claimed that neither Justice Bain, Fred Smith, nor “any of its servants, agents or operatives” indicated to Mr Nygard or his lawyer that STB “had or was about to commence another contempt application.”

STB, formerly known as the Coalition to Save Clifton Bay, refuted Mr Nygard’s recusal application, arguing that the application was “transparently calculated to delay the progress of the first committal application” against Mr Nygard.

STB’s battle with Mr Nygard over the construction/development activities at his Lyford Cay home stem from allegations that the activities have led to substantial growth of the property.

The group claims that the Lyford Cay resident has almost doubled his property’s size, from 3.25 acres to 6.1 acres, since he acquired it in 1984, by allegedly reclaiming Crown Land from the sea. The advocacy group has alleged that Mr Nygard achieved this without the necessary permits and approvals, claims that have been denied by the fashion designer.

That comes against the backdrop of Justice Bain’s ruling in 2013 that until the conclusion of judicial review proceedings challenging the legality of the construction of a groyne and the dredging of the seabed off Nygard Cay, neither activity could continue. However, since then, STB has submitted photographic evidence in court purporting that the exact opposite has happened.

Justice Bain said the delay in the substantive hearing of the judicial review could not be blamed on her, as “the substantive application for judicial review has not yet been heard because of the preliminary applications made by the respondents.”

“It cannot be said that the court has not properly managed this case. The nature of the preliminary applications, especially for recusal, have to be disposed of before hearing the substantive application,” the judge added.

Comments

paul_vincent_zecchino 1 year, 10 months ago

From all appearances and reports, all the red FNM bumper stickers on cars, Spring of 2012, and no PLP stickers to be seen, FNM was on the way to victory.

Then reports surfaced that this guy was spreading around a lot of his dough to throw the election.

Over here, it's soros who throws wrenches into America's gears.

Over there, it seems to be this one among others, doesn't it?

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asiseeit 1 year, 10 months ago

Is this a country where the RULE OF LAW is followed or is it a free for all bordering on ANARCHY?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 10 months ago

Nygard has the ability to fix all of his problems with the Bahamian government one way or another if push comes to shove.....and he knows it!

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Economist 1 year, 10 months ago

Looks like he has Freeport's Port Authority in his back pocket. Look who is with him.

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truetruebahamian 1 year, 10 months ago

Also the nygard clone who has the Cove in Eleuthera, I understand that he fires workers before having to pay for the near completion of their work, never had planning permission, has no conduits for his electrical systems - against safety codes andwhen anyone brings him upon his product and conditions, he calls Christie and has everything swept away quietly.

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MonkeeDoo 1 year, 10 months ago

Mitchell need to send him back to Canada to pay his taxes there. Bahamas capital gains are enormous !!!

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proudloudandfnm 1 year, 10 months ago

Nygard is just so damned nasty.... You can see the slime in him...

He makes my skin crawl.....

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asiseeit 1 year, 10 months ago

This is the type of person the PLP works for, not your average Bahamian, but a rich foreigner. Stem cell laws where the FIRST order of business to pay back his campaign donations. Remember this is the man that stated that since the PLP won, he got "HIS" country back. What does that mean? He is NOT BAHAMIAN and does not OBEY OUR LAWS. Does he mean that since he bought a government, the country is his? I say this is the kind of man that FLY AWAY FRED needs to investigate.

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