Justice Dawn Gregory yesterday dismissed the $2 million lawsuit filed against government for alleged malicious prosecution by former New Building Society (NBS) chief executive officer Maurice Arjoon, after she found that only two out of four limbs of malicious prosecution had been established.
“The ruling of the judge is another nail in the coffin,” a visibly upset Arjoon said, moments after the judgment was handed down, while adding that the outcome of the matter has left him “extremely disappointed”.
Asked what he plans to do now, Arjoon was unsure, while adding that he now has to wait and “weigh” his options.
Stabroek News was subsequently told by one of Arjoon’s attorneys, Nigel Hughes, that the ruling will be appealed.
Justice Gregory, during the delivery of her ruling, said that in reaching her decision she looked at several things, including letters and some of the testimony given during the preliminary inquiry.
She said she was satisfied that there was a connection between the charges laid and the termination of Arjoon’s employment at the NBS.
The judge added that the case against Arjoon was based on circumstantial evidence and that the police had been advised by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Towards the ending of the ruling, she indicated to Arjoon that she knew that the case meant a lot to him but she had to dismiss it for the reasons she had outlined.
She then indicated that she would summarise her ruling and make it available in the Registry.
At yesterday’s hearing, attorney Latoya Hobbs was present for Arjoon, while the attorney Pritima Kissoon represented the other side.
Former attorney general Charles Ramson SC was named as defendant in the legal papers filed in June 2011.
Arjoon, who was among several persons charged with a $69 million fraud committed at NBS in 2007, moved to the High Court seeking damages after the case was dismissed against him in November 2010.
Arjoon, in his statement of claim, said he was charged “maliciously and without reasonable or probable cause,” for which he was seeking special damages – $1,041,599 for loss of employment; $642,744 for loss of allowances; and $496,664 for loss of pension, all calculated for a period of 42 months during which he lost employment. Arjoon was also seeking damages in excess of $50,000, for malicious prosecution and indictment for the charge of conspiracy to defraud as well as damages in excess of $50,000 for false imprisonment on or about July 1, 2007.
The statement of claim added that Ramson, “caused and procured the commencement of a preliminary inquiry against the plaintiff (Arjoon).” It was noted too that Arjoon was terminated from his employment as a result of the institution of charges and as a consequence suffered loss.
The virtual complainant in the NBS case, Bibi Khan, from whose account the money was allegedly withdrawn without notice, failed to attend court hearings. She had appeared during the first PI, where she had given evidence but defence lawyers were later unable to complete their cross-examination of her.