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Paul Lismore

[Paul Lismore] Another judgement that is an insult to basic principles of justice


Rédigé par Paul Lismore le Lundi 3 Mai 2021

" The court is most merciful when the accused is most rich."--- Hebrew Proverb.



The Mauritius Commercial Bank is an incredibly rich organisation, and therefore a very powerful one which commands the allegiance of various serviteurs du pays including politicians of ALL parties, our "free and independent press", and those "intrepid fighters" for justice known as police officers, lawyers, judges, and courts of law....

You know how people at the Champs de Mars love to look important as if they are members of an exclusive club and love to whisper in their friend's ears about the absolutely certain winner of the next race, " ene banker sa, mo dire ou", "sire souval la gagner a moin si so lapatte kasser kan le course larguer!"? And the long faces after the race is over tell you that they had foolishly bet next month's shopping on a donkey...But when it comes to justice and our courts, the MCB really is, pardon the expression, a "banker", a sure winner. 

On 11th February 2005, the MCB's Headquarters in Port Louis was the subject of the biggest armed robbery in our history.

Apparently Rs 51.8 millions were stolen, although some people claim that the amount was much higher than that...Jiawed Ruhumatally was sentenced to 42 years imprisonment, whilst two of the robbers, Monvoisin and Sambacaille, each received 16 years imprisonment, and are now free to breathe the air of freedom. Mithil Sootroghan was found guilty of driving Ruhumutally and Monvoisin to MCB HQ and was found with Rs 3 millions of the stolen money. "

Vinessen Subbaroyan était, lui, accusé d’avoir facilité l’accès des braqueurs à la banque en laissant intentionnellement ouverte la porte menant à la chambre forte et en donnant le signal approprié. Il était convenu qu’ils emprunteraient l’escalier menant à la chambre forte au son d’une roupie que Vinessen Subbaroyan lâcherait dans les escaliers."
Subbaroyan had Rs 6 millions and 100,000 Euros of the stolen money in his possession. 

In August 2017, 12 years after the armed robbery, Sootrooghan and Subbaroyan received 300 hours community service for their part in the robbery that led to the death/murder of the Customer Care Supervisor of MCB, Gerald Lagesse. Subbaroyan joined another band of certified thieves later, known as the MSM....

We now come to the family of the victim, the wife, daughter, and mother of Gerald Lagesse, and their application for moral damages to the Supreme Court against the MCB and the insurance companies. The case was lodged in 2007, and our wonderful Supreme Court delivered its judgement in....2021!! What is that thing they often tell us about "Justice delayed is justice denied"? And what a judgement!! I have read all 23 pages of that judgement at least twice, and I am astonished that all that the judge has done is to recite the evidence that had been adduced during the trial, but failed to satisfy the main requirement of an appeal, which is to address the fucking law!

She ignored one of the primary duties of the MCB as an employer, i.e. did it satisfy its legal duty to provide a safe working environment to its employees? Plainly, it had not, and a quick reference to the role played especially by its planton Subbaroyan, and the driver provides ample testimony to the woefully inadequate level of security at the MCB. 

But it gets worse, folks! The main Insurance company, Mauritius Union, accused the MCB of
"(i) failed to take any or any sufficient measures to prevent intruders fromgetting access to security areas, sensitive spots of the bank and the vault area;(ii) failed to take any or any sufficient measures to prevent the holdup;(iii) did not have a system to prevent the robbery which occurred on11 February 2005 and to prevent intruders from getting access to the security areas and the vault area;(iv) did not have any security camera which would have enabled itssecurity personnel to know that certain intruders had penetrated within the security areas of its premises and the place where the vault was found; did not ensure that the late Gérald Lagesse was provided with the necessary training and instructions with respect to the securityaspects of the vault and the security areas.etc etc.

"All 3 insurance companies declared in court that " (i) that since it was not disputed that there was nocamera surveillance on the premises, in particular in the main vault, the plaintiffs(insurance companies) have, therefore, established that defendant no. 1 (MCB) has failed in its duty to assure thephysical safety of late Gérald Lagesse at his designated workplace; (ii) thatdefendant no. 1 (MCB) has CALLOUSLY and DELIBERATELY underplayed the extent of the humantragedy that was caused as a result of the robbery that was allowed to happen inbroad daylight, during official bank working hours; (iii) the refusal of the defendantno. 1 (MCB) to take ownership of the tragedy caused on its premises has dogged the whole trial proceedings and unnecessarily protracted matters; (iv) the plaintiffs havesuffered considerable prejudice as a result of the protracted court proceedings caused primarily by the MCB’s insistence to bring in its insurance companies asparties to the case, and by seeking a number of postponements and adjournments throughout the duration of the case; (v) the trauma suffered by the plaintiffs as aresult of the loss of GL was further aggravated by their continued presence at thenumerous court sittings- which tested their stamina, endurance and sapped their confidence in obtaining psychological closure. By the time the trial was over, GL’sfather has passed away and his mother is seriously advanced in age".

All the above is what the judge, Nirmala Devat wrote in her judgement. And yet, after 21 pages of uncontrolled verbiage that refuses to address the legal issues of Health and Safety at work and other pertinent matters, Her Ladyship concludes that "The preponderance of the evidence does not establish that the robbery and the death of Gérald Lagesse were due to the faute, negligence and recklessness of defendant no. 1.(MCB)."

Methinks Her Ladyship needs to consult her dictionary for the proper definition of 'preponderance' or even of "evidence", because her conclusion flies in the face of logic, legal precedents in matters of Health and Safety at work, and of basic humanity in trying to be objective when deciding on matters of justice and reparation to the families of the victims.

Devat is the same judge who as a result of several affairs, tried to commit suicide....And who also provided an advance copy of a draft judgement to her lover----a case where the other judge is the current Chief Judge...(Look at Dev Hurnam's video on that rather insalubrious affair in the first comment...) Recently, she granted an injunction in a case where she was conflicted.

She did not challenge/recuse herself, and instead granted an injunction in favour of a party close to her. There is a video where she is seen partying by the pool in the property of one Hitié, and she gave an interlocutory judgment in his favour.  

As for the family of Gerald Lagesse, what can they now do in our crap judicial system? They have waited 14 years for the MCB to show some humanity towards a loyal employee who died as a result of their mediocre security.

A judge with dubious antecedents and with an aptitude for various conflicts of interest has now decided, much against the weight of the evidence and the unarguable morality of the case, to find in favour of the Super Rich. All that the bereaved family can now do is go to the Privy council. But that costs money, and the MCB will no doubt have no problem financing its own defence..... 

The Lagesse family unfortunately will not find it easy to try to find the justice that is due to them and to their late son, husband, and father.

In our so-called etat de droit, The court is indeed most merciful when the accused is most rich. And Devat's judgement is a clear example of that.

Lundi 3 Mai 2021

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