Court sets aside forfeiture order against Canadian

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The Court of Appeal has set aside a Supreme Court order which had given the Jamaican Government the go-ahead to seize and sell the assets of a Canadian man on behalf of the Canadian government.
Yesterday, the appeals court gave 59-year-old Robert Bidwell time to file his defence opposing the sale of his assets.
The court ruled that neither Bidwell nor the Government should have any dealing with the properties until the issue has been heard and determined by the Supreme Court.
The assets, which comprise Lot 45 Breadnut Drive in Runaway Bay, St Ann, and several apartments at Bay Vista Village, also in Runaway Bay, are worth more than $200 million.
The forfeiture order was made in a Canadian court five years ago while Bidwell was being sentenced for drug-related offences to which he had pleaded guilty.

In 2008, Supreme Court Judge Leighton Pusey had ruled that the Canadian man must file his defence within 56 days after being served with the claim form and affidavit of Director of Public Prosecutions.
However, before the time had expired Justice Donald McIntosh made an order for the forfeiture order to be registered.
However, the Court of Appeal has ruled that Justice McIntosh’s order cannot stand.
The court said in the circumstances, Bidwell ought to be allowed the opportunity to file his defence.
Bidwell has been ordered to file his defence within the next 21 days and the Registrar of the Supreme Court has been directed to fix a date for the first hearing of the matter as soon as possible.