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Chancery Legal given leave to appeal

Mark Pettingill (File photograph)

A law firm was told yesterday it needed to lodge an appeal in the Supreme Court to dispute a ruling that they could not represent patients of Ewart Brown who had their medical records seized by police.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Chancery Legal should apply in the Supreme Court to stay a decision that barred them from involvement in the case while it tried to have the decision quashed.

The finding came after the Supreme Court decided last month that Mark Pettingill and Victoria Greening, lawyers from the firm representing the patients, had a conflict of interest.

Assistant Justice Kiernan Bell found the law firm had been in contempt of court after it applied for a stay of the decision so it could be appealed.

The Court of Appeal found that the law firm could represent the patients in an application for leave to stay the ruling’s effect so it could appeal the decision. Mark Diel, who appeared for the police, asked the Supreme Court to bar Mr Pettingill, a former Attorney-General, and Ms Greening, a former prosecutor, from representing the patients.

Mr Diel argued that they had access to confidential information on the long-running police investigation into Dr Brown’s clinics through their former roles, which the court accepted.

Mr Pettingill and Ms Greening will now have to ask Supreme Court for permission to argue their case in the Court of Appeal.

A draft judgment said: “Since those applications are to be made to the Supreme Court, they are not applications of which we are currently seized.

“But, it seems to us right to say that, in our view, although it will be a matter for the Supreme Court judge, it would be appropriate for the judge to hear Chancery Legal on behalf of the client make an application for leave to appeal and an application for a stay, because, although that would be contrary to the terms of the existing order, it is that very order which the client seeks to appeal.

“That observation is subject to the proviso that Chancery Legal has undertaken that, pending the appeal, it will not discuss with the client or any co-counsel, anything other than the appeal itself.”

The appeal court panel added that, if permission for a stay and an appeal were granted, the Court of Appeal would be able to hear the case this month.

If the applications to the Supreme Court were refused, the firm will still be able to appeal the refusal to the Court of Appeal.

The firm represented 150 of the 265 patients whose records were seized in raids on Dr Brown’s two medical clinics, Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget and Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s, in February 2017.

The raids were part of an investigation by police into allegations that the clinics had ordered unneeded diagnostic imaging scans to boost profits.

Dr Brown and BHCS’s medical director, Mahesh Reddy, have denied any wrongdoing and have not been charged with any offences.

The patients represented by Chancery Legal were given permission by the Supreme Court to intervene in a civil case brought by Dr Reddy and the clinics against Bermuda Police Service.

The patients wanted to stop the police from getting access to their files and to have the medical records returned.

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