The highly anticipated high court trial involving fraud brought against owner of the now defunct Capitol Bank International, Finton De Bourg, finally got on the way Tuesday at the No. 2 High Court on the Carenage in St. George’s.
The controversial banker was arrested in 2009 and charged for fraudulently applying funds of Capital Bank for his own benefit, another charge of falsification of accounts and three charges of falsification of the minutes of the Board of Directors of CapBank.
The criminal charges against De Bourg involves Capbank monies amounting to approximately EC$17 million, dating as far as 2002 with the commencement of construction of South City Plaza, which is owned by the businessman.
DeBourg, whose local “Homegrown” bank remains in receivership, challenged the appointment of a receiver by a former Keith Mitchell-led government to oversee transactions in the bank and seeking to have full ownership of the company returned to him.
De Bourg, who appeared before female high court judge, Justice Paula Gilford Tuesday for the start of his trial was unrepresented by counsel.
He informed the court that he was “not prepared to select jurors today,” expressing the view that he should be give an “opportunity to complete submissions” in his defense.
He objected to the court’s selection of jurors on a point of impartiality suggesting that the matter which dates back to 2006 has been the subject of extensive debate in the local media as well as social media, which, he claimed resulted in “unabated” attacks on his character.
The businessman charged that this might prejudice the jurors, who would not be able to impartially decide on the case brought by the State against him.
Hundreds of depositors have millions of dollars tied up in the Cap Bank debacle.
DeBourg told the judge that “it is impossible to find an impartial person to execute judgment” in his case which he described as a “high level” matter.
He was unsuccessful in his request for an outside jury to be brought in to render a verdict at the end of the trial.
The court conducted a voidire in which De Bourg grilled each potential juror with guidance from Justice Gilford as it relates to his or her knowledge of the case in keeping with section 22 of the Jury Act.
When the process was over, the selected jurors were briefed on the charges laid against De Bourg and cautioned by the judge on how they should conduct themselves in the case.
A decision was then taken to adjourn the matter until the following day (Wednesday, September 28) at 9.00 a.m.
The court is hopeful that the trial would be completed by October 31st.
De Bourg was previously represented in the matter by Attorney-at-Law, Cajeton Hood in the Magistrate’s Court before he assumed the post of Attorney General.
The case was then taken over by Attorney-at-Law Kenroy Samuel, who has since been disbarred from practicing at the local bar.
Speculation is rife that De Bourg had already fired Attorney Samuel before his debarment.
De Bourg was also reportedly represented by Attorney-at-Law, Raymond Anthony, who had appeared for him when the matter was brought for Case Management in May 2016.
However, Anthony did not show up for the matter Tuesday, which led to Justice Gilford making a request for him to appear when the court resumed on the following day.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Attorney Anthony did not seek permission or inform the court of his intention to pull out of the case.