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Pettingill stood down from Brown clinics case

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Conflict of interest: Mark Pettingill (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Two lawyers have been barred from representing patients of Ewart Brown because of a conflict of interest, it was revealed yesterday.

Mark Pettingill, a former Attorney-General, and Victoria Greening, a past Crown prosecutor, were told they could no longer represent their clients in a civil case over a police investigation into Dr Brown’s clinics.

Assistant Justice Kiernan Bell ruled in a separate judgment that the Bermuda Police Service were not in contempt of court over an order that prevented them from using medical records seized from Dr Brown’s two medical practices.

The records of 265 patients were taken from Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget and the Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s in February 2017.

Police officers with search warrants took the files as part of an inquiry into allegations that diagnostic imaging scans were ordered by the clinics to boost profits.

The ruling found that Mr Pettingill and Ms Greening, who worked at the Department of Public Prosecutions, had both been given inside information into the long-running investigation in their previous roles.

The judgment said the two, who now work for law firm Chancery Legal, could have accessed confidential information which would be “adverse” to the Commissioner of Police and the Bermuda Police Service.

The judgment came after Mark Diel, the lawyer for the Bermuda Police Service, argued at a hearing last month that both barristers had a conflict of interest.

But the judgment allowed Jerome Lynch QC, who was seconded from law firm Trott & Duncan to Chancery Legal for the case, to carry on acting for Dr Brown’s patients.

It said: “He may continue to act for the intervener in conjunction with any non-conflicted successor firm.”

Mr Pettingill argued at the earlier hearing that a police officer had spoken to one of Dr Brown’s patients and that the police had broken a court order which banned them from access to the patient records.

A judge ordered the files off limits after civil proceedings were brought in 2017 against the police by Mahesh Reddy, the medical director of Bermuda Healthcare Services.

Police drew up an anonymous list of the records, where patients were identified by a number rather than a name.

Mrs Justice Bell wrote in her judgment: “The BPS did not need to review any seized records in order to create such a list.”

She added that the police’s anonymous list fell outside the scope of the original ban on use of the records.

Mrs Justice Bell said: “In fact, reviewing the files would be of no assistance.”

To view the judgments, click on the PDF links under “Related Media

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Investigating officers: police target Bermuda Healthcare Services in February 2017, siezing the records of 265 patients at BHCS in Paget and the Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s (File photograph)