A High Court judge has ordered the immediate arrest of attorney Kathy-Ann Mottley for failing to repay her client $107,000.
Upon her arrest, Mottley will be taken to the Women’s Prison in Golden Grove, Arouca, for 60 days.
Justice Frank Seepersad made the order yesterday after the attorney failed to obey a court’s order to pay the money to Wendy Phillip.
The money was part of a $.36 million default judgment won by Phillip in a civil claim in 2015 following the death of her son Karrem Richards. Mottley was her attorney.
In issuing the order in the Port-of -Spain Supreme Court, Seepersad said, “A no-tolerance approach to unlawful activity must be adopted. Persons, especially those who hold positions of trust and authority, must be held accountable.
“The respondent’s conduct was unlawful and unethical. She abused a position of trust and this court will not tolerate illegal or corrupt activity in any manifestation and it matters not who the offender is or the position which he or she holds.”
In February 2017, Phillip filed a complaint of professional misconduct against Mottley with the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Association of T&T.
Three months later, the Disciplinary Committee ordered Mottley to reimburse Phillip by August that year and fined her $10,000.
Mottley subsequently challenged the order in the High Court but the parties entered into a consent order in December 2018. Mottley was supposed to pay half the money by May 2019 and the balance by November 2019. Mottley paid Phillip $10,000 in May. In a subsequent letter to Phillip, Mottley explained that she was in the process of selling a property and would continue to make payments.
Phillip, through her attorneys, sent several letters to Phillip and her attorney in an attempt to get her to pay the remaining sum but was unsuccessful. Phillip then filed an application to the court to have Mottley sent to jail for failing to pay the money.
In February, the court ordered that unless Mottley paid $107,000 by March 2 she would be jailed for 60 days. Mottley applied for an extension of time to June 1. She then petitioned the Court of Appeal for a stay of the court’s order of committal. However, Justice Malcolm Holdip dismissed her matter on June 1 and ordered her to pay costs. The judge directed the Marshalls to immediately take her into custody and transmit her to the prison for 60 days.