Pinard-Byrne,left, and Lennox Linton
Pinard-Byrne,left, and Lennox Linton

If you say that 2016 was the "year-of-the-sue" few people would challenge you, in or out of court. Here's a brief outline of the main suits that the Sun reported in 2016.

Rosalind Daisy, a qualified registered nurse and a certified mental health nursing instructor at the Dominica State College filed a lawsuit for negligence against the Attorney General and three medical doctors at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) related to cancer and the removal of her breast.

Then there was a man who was arrested and charged for the possession of cocaine and who was subsequent found not guilty of the charge. He wanted the Government of Dominica to dish out some dollars -more than $125,000. Businessman Nicodemus Francis, the managing director of JX Car Rental Ltd of Guillet, Portsmouth filed a lawsuit against Police Officer Vivian Augustine and the Attorney General for malicious arrest.

Again, Andrea Christian, the mother and personal representative of the estate of Trevor Christian (who died on 19 September 2015 at age 30) filed a lawsuit for negligence against five doctors and Dominica's Attorney General.

And businessman Arthur "Wrecker" Shillingford sued a doctor at the PMH and the Attorney General of Dominica for what Shillingford calls "negligent diagnosis" and for removing his prostate. In addition, police officer Hayden Morgan sued the Government of Dominica for "malicious prosecution."

Two years ago Morgan was stationed at the Portsmouth Police Station in the post of acting sergeant when Joshua Etienne, who had been arrested and placed in police cells in Portsmouth, was found dead as a result of alleged police brutality.

Morgan, the officer in charge at Portsmouth was not present when the incident occurred but since it happened under his command he was charged "criminally". He maintained that he was innocent and after the court released from the charge he sued.

And on the last day of 2015, Police Inspector Cleville Mills filed a defamation lawsuit against Q95FM and its talk show hosts Mathias "Matt" Peltier and Angelo Allen.

LL pays KPB

In 2016, the battle between chartered accountant Kieron Pinard-Byrne and the Leader of the Opposition Lennox Linton continued out of court. In January the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council ordered that Linton pay Pinard-Byrne costs of £20,000 (i.e. about EC$77,768) within 21 days from 29 January 2016.

Linton had also to pay costs to Pinard-Byrne for the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court appeal; the amount had to be assessed.

At the heart of the case was the Layou River Hotel project that started under the Dame Eugenia Charles administration. That project consumed tens of millions of dollars from the sale of passports and yet all Dominicans can see now on the site are ruins, overgrown bush and wildlife. It was a complete failure.

While discussing the project on Kairi FM in 2003, Linton got into hot water when he implied that Pinard-Byrne was involved in fraud at the Layou River Hotel project. Pinard –Byrne sued and he was successful at the High Court and at the Privy Council. Linton won an appeal at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

In an unusual move, Linton and party supporters assembled outside the law office of De Freitas De Freitas and Johnson (Pinard-Byrne's lawyers) on Cork Street, Roseau where UWP supporters took turns to deliver cash to the law firm on Linton's behalf.

Over two days on Q95 FM radio callers in a radio pledge had contributed over EC$120,000 to pay these High Court charges.

Criminal matters

In 2016, Justice Victoria Charles-Clarke, a St. Lucian, replaced Justice Errol Thomas as the resident judge who would adjudicate on criminal matters. She may have to decide on the fate of six people, including a woman, who were arrested and charged with the robbery of jewelry valued at $1.8 million on 21 May 2016 at Jewelry International located at the Fort Young Hotel.

Justice Charles-Clarke, will also adjudicate the retrial of Sherman Webb of Kingshill whose case was sent back to the High Court by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) for retrial. Earlier, Webb was given a sentence of life in jail by Justice Bernie Stephenson after he was found guilty of murdering Corey Rohan Poleon of St. Lucy, Barbados.