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Darrell continues legal course in long-running human rights complaint

A board of inquiry assigned to investigate human rights complaints against the Bank of Bermuda in 2006 has yet to deliver a final decision, according to Harold Darrell.

Mr Darrell has repeatedly alleged institutional racism at the bank after an employee leaked his confidential information in 1996.

A board of inquiry heard his complaint against the CEO and board of directors of the bank as individuals in 2006, but the board found the action should have been against the bank itself.

Lawyer Jaymo Durham, representing Mr Darrell, argued during an in-Chambers hearing yesterday that the board of inquiry investigating his complaints did not release a final decision, and the findings released did not make it clear if there was or was not a breach of Mr Darrell's human rights.

As result, Mr Durham argued result proceedings were still technically ongoing and the initial appeal should never have gone ahead.

“The board didn't make a decision either way, making it impossible to appeal,” Mr Durham said. “I would say they evaded the question. They couldn't come to a finding on a party not part of the proceedings.

“If they were to make a finding against the board of directors, that would result in a finding against the bank. It effectively averted the effect which would have resulted in a decision against the bank, which it was decided was not involved in the proceedings.”

He stressed that the matter involved a breach of Mr Darrell's fundamental human rights, and as a result it is in the public interest to allow the matter to come to a resolution.

“This is a matter that the courts should provide clarity with as to whether or not such a direction should defer a human rights complaint, and whether or not there is any recourse,” he said.

Asked about the failed appeal and if Judge Norma Wade-Miller had found the board had come to a decision, Mr Durham said the judge was never asked to consider if the decision was final.

Lawyer Jai Pachai, representing the board of inquiry, has applied for the matter to be struck out, saying the appeal was in itself a clear demonstration that a final decision had been made against the appellant.

And lawyer Ben Adamson, representing the bank, called the 17-year dispute as a “Norse saga” because of its prolonged duration.

He described the latest action a last-ditch effort to keep the matter alive, saying: “The board made a final decision. It made it several times. The decision the appellant said should be analysed has already been analysed.”

Mr Darrell, a former bank customer, alleges that $3.2 million in business deals turned sour after a Bank of Bermuda employee leaked confidential information about his personal account to the party he was negotiating with.

An internal inquiry took place in 1999/2000, led by former executive vice-president Allan Richardson, then the most senior black executive at the bank.

Mr Darrell claimed the outcome of that inquiry was a finding that he had been wronged, and that the wrongdoing was racially motivated.

He subsequently took his complaint to the Human Rights Commission, who in turn recommended the board of inquiry investigate the matter.

Since the board released its findings, Mr Darrell has attempted to appeal the findings with the Supreme Court and later through judicial reviews, the most recent of which took place last year.

On that occasion, Mr Darrell alleged the chairman of the board of inquiry, Paul King, was biased due to his work with the Bank of Bermuda.

Those allegations were dismissed by Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons, and his request for a new board of inquiry was rejected.

Pursuing case: Harold Darrell

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Published October 09, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 09, 2013 at 1:26 am)

Darrell continues legal course in long-running human rights complaint

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