Sonia Jones out of prison
Attorney-at-law, Sonia Jones, who was sentenced to an 18-month prison term last year June was released from the Fort Agusta women's prison in St Catherine two weeks ago, a prison official told the Observer yesterday.
The release means that Jones, a first offender, convicted for fraudulent conversion, served 12 months of her sentence.
Jones was convicted in the Half-Way-Tree Criminal Court on December 7, 1999 on two counts of fraudulent conversion, after her former clients, Colin Garland and playwright Lloyd Record, complained that she had misappropriated US$50,000 and US$35,749, respectively, which they had given her to invest.
Upon conviction she filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal, which was heard by Justices Ian Forte, Ransford Panton and Seymour Langrin.
Forte and Panton upheld the decision while Langrin voted against and Jones was sent to prison.
She was arrested and charged on October 8,1998 after a seven-hour stand-off with police at her Sunset Apartments residence in upper St Andrew.
The money given to Jones was to be invested in "no risk" investment at 22 per cent interest. But the complainants said the terms of the investment were never disclosed to them, and they subsequently received sporadic interest payments on their principal. But after some time the payments stopped and it was at this point that the complainants sought to have their money returned.
Jones, in her defence, contended that the money was, in fact, invested in a Negril property called the Seascape Hotel through a mortgage over which she had power of attorney.
But owner of the property at that time, French national Cecile Cannole, told the court that she paid cash for the property and had not instructed Jones, whom she asked to sell the property, to mortgage it.
The General Legal Council has since debarred Jones from the list of practising attorneys.