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Lawyer loses appeal

Oswald James to serve two-year prison term

BY PAUL HENRY Sunday Observer staff reporter henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 11, 2014    

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ATTORNEY Oswald James was on Friday sent to prison after the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal of a two-year sentence for defrauding a Canadian businessman of more than US$200,000.

Following the appellate court's decision, attorney Bryan Barnes told the Jamaica Observer that he would be meeting with James to discuss a possible next move.

James was reportedly cuffed immediately after the court's decision and taken away.

In 2012, Resident Magistrate Lorna Shelly Williams imposed the two-year jail sentence on James after he was found guilty of defrauding his client, Carlton Lewis, of US$237,500.

The Court of Appeal agreed that the magistrate had sufficient evidence to arrive at her decision.

James was charged on August 14, 2009 following allegations that he had defrauded Lewis in the sale of a property in Queen Hill, St Andrew.

Lewis had reported the matter to the Fraud Squad in June 2009 after the attorney failed to refund the money he allegedly gave him in 2008.

James had strongly denied the allegations and had testified that he invested the money, as directed by Lewis, and that no fraud was involved.

However, the Court of Appeal ruled that there was sufficient evidence that James had received the money from his client for a particular purpose and there was evidence that the money was not used for that purpose.

The Court of Appeal said there was also evidence that Lewis had requested the return of his money and even had a meeting with a Government minister to act as mediator in the situation.

The court also noted that the prosecution had produced evidence that James entered into a written agreement to buy the property seven months before he received the money.

According to the court, the magistrate was obligated to note that although James said he had made the purchase, he was unable to present documentary evidence to support his claim linking Lewis to the property transaction.

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