‘No motive’ in Myles case

| 18/06/2014

(CNS): The attorney representing a former director of the National Housing and Development Trust told a jury Tuesday that the case against his client was “fundamentally flawed”, as he said the crown had failed to present a motive for the allegations. Closing the trial of Edlin Myles, who is accused of conning at least five applicants of the housing trust into buying insurance policies that they did not need, Ben Tonner said the crown gave no explanation why Myles would throw away decades of an unblemished reputation in the local community selling insurance to make no more than a few hundred dollars. He said the prosecution had failed to give the jury a logical reason why Myles would risk everything.

Tonner followed the closing statement from Trevor Ward, QC, who was prosecuting the case on behalf of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in which he said Myles had tricked people who were least able to pay into buying policies they did not need. Ward accused Myles of doing so knowingly and of pressuring them to take out the policies with him by implying their applications for affordable homes were dependent on their buying insurance.

Ward said Myles’ claim that he offered the policies to the Trust clients but told them that they need not take them out there and then or could buy them from another agent was untrue. He pointed out that most of the people involved were on low incomes and could ill-afford the premiums, which was demonstrated by one applicant taking out a loan as he believed his application was dependent on him buying the policy as instructed by Myles. Ward said it was clear that had these people believed they had a choice to wait, they would never have bought the policies.

However, Tonner reminded the jury that his client, who had taken the stand in his own defence, had said he did not force the policies and had never directed that they or any other NHDT clients should buy them from him.

The attorney said that at 62 years of age, Myles, who is a family man with four children and eleven grandchildren, had enjoyed a long and successful, lucrative career in insurance in which reputation was everything. He said the allegations amounted to no more than $500 in commission had he falsely sold the policies and it was inconceivable that he would have risked everything he had when he did not need the money.

Tonner pointed to character witnesses, especially his employer Derek Bogle, and other insurance peers, as well as the provider of the policies in question, Sagicor, who had all spoken in glowing terms about his client during the trial. The defense attorney argued that if his employers, clients, business colleagues and partners had believed Myles was capable of dishonesty he would not have kept his job over the three years that these charges were hanging over him and the insurance firms would not have carried on doing business with him.

The lawyer said they were false allegations that were made by, what the jury may think, were unreliable witnesses whose evidence contained numerous inconsistencies.

Following the closure of the case against him and Myles’ response in defence, the presiding judge, Justice Alex Henderson, will sum up the case and direct the jury of six women and one man on Wednesday morning before they will begin their deliberations.

Related article on CNS:

Ex NHDT director on trial

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