Contempt of Court

19/10/2023 James Montado, James Castle

The Supreme Court of Gibraltar this week granted permission allowing Mansion (Gibraltar) Limited to bring committal proceedings for contempt of court against the Defendant in ongoing proceedings before the Supreme Court of Gibraltar.

The Application follows the Claimants’ having successfully obtained a £5m Worldwide Freezing Order (“WFO”) against the First Defendant in February 2023 (Judgment accessible here ). Our clients application is premised on three distinct contempts on the part of the First Defendant:

i) that in breach of undertakings provided to Court, the First Defendant made payments and withdrawals from his bank account in excess of the £10,000 per week permitted (the First Ground);

ii) that the First Defendant made a false statement in a witness statement verified by a statement of truth in respect of the part of the proceeds of a sale of property (the Second Ground); and

iii) that the First Defendant made a false statement in a witness statement verified by a statement of truth that his expenditure during the 24 weeks covered by undertakings amounted to £258,603 when in fact it amounted to £335,490.25 (the Third Ground).

As the First Ground relates to a breach of an Order there was no need for our clients to seek the Courts permission to proceed with the application. Accordingly, the application was premised on our clients being able to establish that there was a strong prima facie case that false and misleading statement had been made in a document verified by a statement of truth and that it was in the public interest for the committal application to proceed.

The judgment is important for the jurisdiction and underscores the importance of ensuring that those persons who give evidence under a statement of truth are not being dishonest or reckless as to the accuracy or otherwise of their statements. Whilst no findings with regards to substance of the contempt (or any sanctions arising from it) have yet been made, the judgment demonstrates the courts willingness to grant permission in appropriate circumstances to ensure that the integrity of the legal system which requires litigants to act honestly is not undermined or permitted.

The Claimants Mansion (Gibraltar) Limited and Onisac Limited were represented by ISOLAS Litigation Partner James Montado and Associate James Castle.

Judgement can be read here 

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