By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
CANADIAN fashion designer Peter Nygard and lawyer Keod Smith did not enter a defence to allegations that the pair orchestrated a murder for hire plot against several Save The Bays directors and a pastor.
The deadline to submit a defence for the contentious lawsuit was March 31, and three months on, plaintiffs are seeking a default judgment on their claims.
Yesterday, attorney Fred Smith, a STB director and plaintiff in the suit, accused Mr Nygard and Mr Smith of grandstanding in the media.
He also questioned the status of the police investigation that was launched in response to the allegations outlined in the suit.
“Very strangely, Peter Nygard and Keod Smith, both of whom proclaimed their innocence from the allegations made in the statement of claim, have failed to file a defence in action brought,” said Mr Smith, QC.
“It was all smoke and mirrors and opportunities for grandstanding in the media on their part. Litigation isn’t defended in media or social media, it’s in the pleadings and they have made nothing, no defence.”
The explosive allegations rocked the nation in March when Prime Minister Perry Christie and Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis’ names were mentioned in secret recordings between Mr Nygard, and two self-proclaimed gang members Livingston “Toggie” Bullard and Wisler “Bobo” Davilma that were filed in support of the lawsuit.
At the time, Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade told reporters that he had launched an official investigation into the allegations but has since refused to provide an update on the status of investigations. Davilma and Bullard were later arrested but were released without being charged days later.
Mr Smith said: “It is odd that to date the police, who say they are conducting an investigation, have yet to ask any of the five plaintiffs to have a discussion with them. This continues the pattern of us complaining to police, to parliamentarians, icons of society, everyone, that we have been victims and targets of abuse and there be no official reaction.
“Except the government accusing us of trying to destabilise the government, perversely.”
The Supreme Court writ was filed against Mr Nygard and his former lawyer Keod Smith by Save The Bays Directors Joseph Darville, Romauld Ferreira, Fred Smith, Louis Bacon, and Reverend CB Moss, who is not a part of the organisation.
It alleged that the defendants orchestrated a two-and-a-half-year campaign of fear and violence to “kill or scare off” activists Mr Nygard saw as opponents to development plans for his Lyford Cay property.
The plaintiffs are also seeking damages and a permanent injunction against Mr Nygard and Keod Smith restraining them from arranging any further tactics against them.
Both defendants filed an appearance on March 17, and were required to serve a defence on the plaintiffs within 14 days.
On March 21, Mr Nygard filed an affidavit and supporting statements in the Supreme Court alleging to show evidence that Mr Bacon and former Free National Movement Chairman Michael Pintard committed criminal activities while participating in a plan to implicate him in a murder plot.
Mr Nygard filed an affidavit by Carlos Mackey along with sworn statements by Davilma and Bullard, the two men who accused him in previous court documents of hiring them to commit murder and other crimes.
However, those documents did not represent a counter-claim or defence, according to Mr Smith, who called the move a publicity stunt.
On March 29, Mr Nygard sued The Tribune, Save the Bays, as well as Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis and Mr Pintard, and others, for “libel” as well as “abuse” of the Supreme Court and Parliament.
Mr Nygard was seeking an injunction restraining 16 defendants from committing “further acts intended to harm or likely to harm” his economic or other legal interests and an injunction restraining the defendants from committing “further libel or slander” against him.
Yesterday, Mr Smith pointed out that although the fashion mogul filed the massive counter suit, no statement of claim has been filed in that matter.
The application for interlocutory judgment in default of defence was filed on April 28.
The Tribune tried to contact Mr Nygard’s legal counsel Elliot Lockhart, QC, for comment but did not get a response up to press time.