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Wednesday 29 January 2020
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NY judge: Keep Dillon court matter secret

UNDER COVER: National Security Minister Edmund Dillon (second from right) is sheltered from the rain after leaving the New York Supreme Court yesterday.
UNDER COVER: National Security Minister Edmund Dillon (second from right) is sheltered from the rain after leaving the New York Supreme Court yesterday.

THE property case in the New York Supreme Court involving National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, ended yesterday with the judge ordering that the proceedings be sealed which effectively bars the media or anyone from reporting details about what happened.

According to attorneys representing Dillon and US attorney Ernest Wilson, no finding of wrongdoing was made by the judge against Dillon. This was also contained in a media release issued yesterday by the Ministry of National Security.

Dillon was in NY yesterday for the third hearing, as he had been for the two previous, in which a half share of a Manhattan apartment and US$50,000 were called into question by the niece of 88-year-old Neville Piper – Dillon’s friend who was originally from La Brea.

The deed of August 2017 showed that the property was transferred from the ailing Piper to Dillon, prepared by US attorney Wilson and notarised. But Piper’s niece Esther Nicholls contended in an application before the court, that Piper denied that the signature on the transfer deed was his. Nicholls raised the issue of fraud in the withdrawal of money from Piper’s account. The court appointed an attorney who interviewed Piper and reported that he was a man most vulnerable due to ill health.

Despite the matter ongoing, it came to the fore only two weeks ago. Dillon maintained that Piper had been his best friend in La Brea and their relationship was so close, that Piper decided to bequeath the Manhattan property and account to him.

Last week local attorney Fareed Scoon, at a media briefing, condemned certain media reports which alleged that Dillon and Wilson were being accused of fraud. Scoon said the court was merely examining whether Nicholls’ application had merit.

Wilson and Scoon told Newsday from NY yesterday, after the hearing before judge Laura Visitasion-Lewis in the Trial Term Court, that a request was made to have the matter be heard in chambers and not in open court.

Scoon explained that while Dillon sat in court, the judge was told that there was adverse publicity against Wilson, who is an attorney of long standing admitted to practise in the US Supreme court, as well as Dillon. “The judge then called the matter in her chambers. All we can say is that the matter has been fully resolved. There is no more matter again and all we are permitted to say is what the judge directed us to say. That is, the matter has been sealed and no finding of wrongdoing has been made against Dillon or Wilson.”

Scoon declined to elaborate on the in-chambers proceedings. Newsday also spoke to Wilson while Dillon and Scoon were present and was also asked why it was necessary for the proceedings to be sealed but he too echoed what was said by Scoon.

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