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Lawyer is predicting rough road ahead for Grenada

Attorney-at-law James Bristol, KC – is retained by the family members to look after their interest

A top Grenadian lawyer is predicting that the Dickon Mitchell-led Congress government would be forced to negotiate a financial settlement with the family of the two Americans killed by the three escaped prisons in February or run the risk of having to fight a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit in a U.S court in New York.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY on Wednesday, the lawyer who did not want to be identified said the fact that the family members have recruited local attorney-at-Law Jimmy Bristol, KC to look after their interest is a clear indication that the former Attorney-General is playing the role of main advisor on local law.

He also said that one of the most likely roles of Bristol is to make a formal approach to the Grenada Government to get them to offer some kind of monetary compensation for the deaths of the two Americans.

Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry have been missing and presumed dead after their boat, Simplicity, was apparently taken by the prisoners who escaped from the South St George Police Station on February 19.

According to police in St Vincent, the prisoners had “confessed” to killing the two Americans, and they discovered blood on the Simplicity.

The top local lawyer said that before any lawsuit can be filed against Grenada in local court, the Americans will first have to follow a local protocol to send a letter to the Grenada government to set out “your claim for the aggrieved party” in which it states that “the other party intends to sue and gives them an opportunity to remedy by recompense, offering some kind of settlement.”

This, he said, would be the course of action to be taken if a lawsuit is “necessarily going to occur in Grenada.”

“I doubt that there will be a suit in Grenada,” he added.

According to the top legal luminary, the U.S lawyers through Bristol will make that approach to the Dickon Mitchell-led administration to see what financial compensation Grenada is prepared to offer to the family members.

He said the family members “will need someone” as Bristol’s standing in legal circles in Grenada “to advise American lawyers who most likely will be formulating a case to be brought in a court in the United States against the government of Grenada.

“Jimmy’s role will be as a senior and expert lawyer in the place where the thing happened is to advise them of Grenada law and also to make representation to the Government of Grenada on their behalf either in terms of a Claim or settlement or to advise their lawyers on how to approach the Government of Grenada since he would have expert knowledge of the law in our system here. That’s why they go to him and they ain’t go to no junior lawyer – they go to a KC,” he remarked.

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The local lawyer stated that he would be surprised if Bristol did not already send a letter to the government to begin the process of negotiation with the Dickon Mitchell-led administration.

However, he said that he sees the Americans lawyers more interested in filing their claim in a U.S court because “the damages, compensation awards in our context is a lot, lot smaller than what the Americans give.”

“The United States legal system, under their law the courts can assume jurisdiction in a civil matter even if the situation occurred abroad where American citizens were involved,” he told THE NEW TODAY.

The local attorney recalled the case brought by U.S oilman Jack Grynberg who filed a civil lawsuit against the 1995-98 Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration over an oil agreement that went sour as St George’s broke the deal in favour of a new arrangement with a group of Russians.

He noted that the Grynberg case was a disagreement over oil and gas deposits in Grenadian waters but the lawsuit was filed before a U.S Court and was very costly for Grenada.

The lawyer is predicting a massive lawsuit and “big money” in the U.S given the information already out in the public about the manner in which the two Americans were killed.

He said that whether the Police in St Vincent got the confession from the three Grenadian prisoners “under duress, coercion or beating”, it appears that the Americans were subjected to a cruel and vicious death.

“I an’t talking about conviction – am talking about suit for compensation, you can’t escape that as them three nastiness did them people a number – batter the people, raped and bugger the people.”

He branded the three escapees as nothing but “animals” in the manner in which they killed Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry.

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