Couple free at last
IT WAS LIKE a dream come true.
Canadian couple Barry and Barbara Dueck had found a second home in sunny Barbados, away from the cold temperatures of their birthplace.
Actually, since 2002, they had become a household name in the Maynards, St Peter district.
But 12 years later, the Duecks got the shock of their lives when they were arrested on money laundering and theft charges involving more than US$5.5 million.
What was even more surprising and shocking is that one of the two complainants, Robert Richardson had been a personal and family friend, as well as a business client for many years.
Barry Dueck, 65, had been an investment advisor to Richardson and his partner, Jean Delangis and had successfully completed business transactions on behalf of them for millions of dollars.
After spending seven weeks on remand at Dodds prison and later granted $2.5 million bail by the High Court, Barry and his wife were fully exonerated two weeks ago when the Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock discontinued the charges.
Their lawyers, Queen’s Counsels Barry Gale and Andrew Pilgrim, have vowed to take the Duecks’ case to the civil courts seeking compensation for the psychological trauma, pain and suffering caused by their clients’ ordeal.
“This was a case where there was in the first place never any evidence to support any criminal charges against either Barry Dueck or his wife, Barbara. Regrettably, criminal charges were brought by the police based on misinformation and, critically, the omission of important evidence.
“This has resulted tragically in a gross miscarriage of justice and their wrongful arrest and detention,” Duecks’ counsel told the SUNDAY SUN.
They added: “It is clear that the Duecks have suffered tremendously both personally and financially as a result of this unwarranted criminal process which was instigated by the virtual complainant.”
Commenting on the withdrawal of the charges, Barry Dueck said: “I am angrier now than I have ever been and I’m not sure if I can explain . . . the injustice of what went on.
“They, the Richardsons [complainant] had been our best friends and had been clients of mine for a long time. I was managing a part of his estate for 20-odd years and had successfully managed millions of dollars belonging to the estate,” he said, noting there had been an investment loss in 2014.
“I’m not sure what makes me the most angry,” said Barry as he recounted his ordeal.
Barry also spoke of the devastating effect their arrests had on their family and the fear that something bad might happen to them again.
“It’s been some relief but for the last two and a half years I’ve been afraid of going back to prison. The ride from the courthouse to Dodds was the sheerest terror of my life ever. It’s been horrific terror. It’s beyond what you can imagine.”
His wife, Barbara was more emotional as she spoke of the nightmares they encountered.
“We’ve been living here for 12 years and we love living here. We absolutely loved it, but for something like this to happen leaves a big stain. What they did to Barry was totally wrong, somebody who was honest and successful but was dragged down. That was his life,” she said.
The Duecks, who are determined to prove their innocence said while behind bars, they hired forensic accountants to prove there was no wrongdoing on their part.
“Our first task as counsel was to convince the official prosecuting authorities that the evidence provided to them was entirely misleading, and flawed, and more importantly in no way supported the bringing of any criminal charges against the Duecks,” their lawyers said.
“Our second task is therefore to bring those responsible before our Law Courts to answer for this very serious wrongdoing in the hope and expectation of at least compensating them financially so far as our courts can do.
“We now turn our attention to seeking justice for the Duecks in our Law Courts,” they added.
As for their future, it’s undecided for the Duecks, at least for the time being.