Attorney Alvin David Bryan wouldn’t look at camera.
1. No deterrent for the next thief lawyer.
2. Bajan lawyers cover up for their own.
3. Foreign investors and real estate buyers who live overseas are still nothing more than victims-in-waiting for Barbados lawyers.
All that talk by the justice system and the Barbados Bar Association about cleaning up the legal profession is just so much talk. You need look no further than the latest case where Attorney Alvin David Bryan (also called David Alvin Bryan) was charged multiple crimes for stealing over $226,000 from TWO different clients over a long period. At least one of the victims was a foreign investor living over and away.
After being criminally charged, lawyer Bryan paid the money back to the victims and walked a free man. That’s the normal penalty when a lawyer is caught thieving in Barbados: they have to pay back the money and then they can continue to practice law.
One law for the lawyers, and another for the rest of us.
This latest happening is not viewed in isolation by Bajans. It is just one more crooked lawyer set free in a long line of lawyers who misappropriated clients’ money and ended up with no penalty. The stories are legend in Barbados – but true – and they go way back even in our blog archives…
In 1992, lawyer Ezra Alleyne took over $34,000 from a London client to purchase real estate in Barbados. Ha! The poor sucker of a client ended up with no land and no money for years. Alleyne was found guilty of misconduct and promised to repay the money – but didn’t so the poor foreign investor had to go back to begging the Bar Association. Alleyne was disbarred for 3 years, but his lawyer got that tossed so he received no penalty at all. (By the way, Alleyne’s lawyer was none other than Sir David Simmons – who went on to be Attorney General and Chief Justice.)
For the longest time, the Barbados Bar Association has said they come down hard on crooked lawyers: but their actions say something else. When lawyer Mortimer Clarke stole $150,000 from an overseas client, the Barbados Bar Association Disciplinary Committee decided that a reprimand would suffice as penalty!
Then the Barbados Court of Appeal said it was just fine to let Mortimer Clarke continue to practice law…
In every civilized jurisdiction in the free world, an attorney who steals a client’s money is at the very least disbarred, never to practice law again. Lawyers who “borrow” (real world word = “steal”) from their trust funds usually end up doing a couple of years in jail.
All over the world, the legal profession and the courts treat theft and misuse of clients’ funds as one of the most serious offenses a lawyer can commit. There is no “gray” area when it comes to the sanctity of monies entrusted to a lawyer. The discipline committees and the courts hammer lawyers for breach of trust involving money because they know that the very credibility of the legal profession is threatened.
And so the Barbados tradition of setting lawyers free continues with the latest case reported in The Nation about Attorney Alvin David Bryan: Monies repaid, fraud case dropped
We understand why Barbados lawyers and judges can’t be too hard on their own – they never know when they might need a light sentence too!
I can’t recall a lawyer being criminally convicted in Barbados let alone going to jail. Maybe I missed one or two – but they are nothing compared with the normal event of lawyers who steal walking free with no penalty and resuming their “profession”. Bajans know it well that there is a double standard applied for lawyers who steal and ordinary folks who steal.
The justice system and the lawyers shouldn’t bother asking for our respect when this is what they give Barbadians in return.
Article submitted by BFP reader “Chicago”. Edited and expanded by Cliverton.