By Aaron Humes
Free Lance Reporter
Supreme Court Justice, Courtney Abel has ordered a senior attorney, Ernest Staine, to pay the sum of $230,000, the pro-ceeds from a land sale transaction.
The money is to be paid to Rita McField, the owner of a property at No. 12 B Douglas Jones Street, which she sold to a church group called Forward in Faith Ministries.
Justice Abel has made it clear that if Staine does not or cannot produce the money to pay Mrs. McField, he would have to spend time in jail.
Staine missed a court appearance this week when the case was called up, due to ill-health as confirmed by a doctor’s letter which prescribed bed rest.
Justice Abel has issued an order of committal, which is suspended until February 17 on humanitarian grounds.
Rita McField, the seller of the property, had retained Staine to complete the real estate transaction, She told reporters this week: “I am getting tired of waiting.”
In 2014, Staine is believed to have collected $230,000 from the sale of the property to the church group.
Mrs. McField, the seller, received $20,000 from the transaction. It was agreed, according to her new attorney, Julie-Ann Ellis-Bradley, that the balance of the money would be paid to the seller upon perfection of the land title.
Counsel Ann Ellis-Bradley told the media this week that the situation has become “absolutely unacce-ptable” and “against the code of ethics that attorneys are to abide by.”
She added that the state of affairs has existed since September 2014, with both her client, the seller, and the church group, the buyer bringing suit.
Attorney Ernest Staine has asked the court for two extensions to meet the payment. The last extension was granted on January 31. He has until February 17 to make good on the payment.
The 77-year-old attorney also faces possible contempt of court charges for failing to respond to a court order to disclose banking details relevant to the escrow sale transaction.
“Both the vendor and purchaser have done all that they were required to do and the only thing left is for the monies to be paid out by Mr. Staine,” Attorney Ann Ellis Bradley disclosed.
The church group, “Forward in Faith Ministries, is now occupying the Douglas Jones Strret property, but they cannot get the ownership documents because Mrs. McField refuses to sign over the documents until she receives her money from the sale.
While she has received the down-payment of $20,000, the remaining sum of $230,000, which was to be put into an escrow account while the paperwork for the sale transaction was being completed, has not been paid.