Fraud case proved, says prosecutor in ATL pension trial

Friday, May 16, 2014    

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THE prosecution yesterday urged Senior Magistrate Lorna Shelly-Williams to dismiss the no-case submissions of the three former Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) executives, saying that the evidence had sufficiently substantiated the allegations of fraud against them.

Queen's Counsel RNA Henriques, who made the submissions on behalf of the prosecution in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court, said that "we have established our case", and that the evidence of the witnesses for the Crown had not "been destroyed" by cross examination.

He said that only one inference could be gathered from the accumulated facts in that the three were involved in conspiracy to defraud and deceive Gorstew Limited, Gordon 'Butch' Stewart's holding company, that consent had been granted for the distribution of surplus from the ATL pension fund.

Catherine Barber, the former general manager of the pension fund; Patrick Lynch, the former chairman of the pension fund; and Dr Jeffery Pyne, a former managing director of Gorstew Ltd, are believed to have conspired in the forging of four letters to deceive that consent was given for the distribution of $1.7 billion from pension fund surplus.

Yesterday, Henriques tied together the evidence in dramatic fashion as he made his submission in the court, painting a clear picture that even held the attention of accused Pyne, Lynch and Barber.

Henriques said that the letters, according to the evidence, must have been created between the evening of December 15 and the morning of December 16, 2010 because Pyne and Barber had sufficient time to produce the letters when confronted by Stewart.

He reminded that Lynch had told Stewart, when first confronted, that he didn't know that consent was needed. By the following day, Lynch changed his tune to say consent was received, based on the four letters presented by Barber.

The attorney said the evidence of United States-based forensic document analyst Eric Speckin regarding the letters had served to strengthen the prosecution's case.

"All the accumulated facts in this matter and the inference that can be drawn can only point in one way: that the letters were not in existence up to 6 o'clock on the 15th," said Henriques, pointing out that it was important to note that Pyne was no longer with the company when the letters were signed.

During their no-case submissions, the defence made heavy weather about the prosecution's decision not to call Stewart to give evidence, but Henriques said there was no need to call Stewart because three of four persons at the meetings with him had already testified as to what transpired there regarding the issue of consent.

After Henriques concludes his response today, the matter will then be left to the magistrate to rule on whether there is a case to answer.



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