June 2, 2020

22° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Winnipeg Free Press


Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Absent Nygard sentenced to jail time, slapped with fine in long-running Bahamas legal battle

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/11/2019 (196 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Bahamian court has slapped Winnipeg fashion magnate Peter Nygard with jail time and fines in the latest development in a long-running legal battle related to alleged dredging activity at his island property.

Nygard was sentenced in absentia in a ruling issued Friday by Supreme Court of the Bahamas Justice Ruth Bowe-Darville.

Peter Nygard's legal team in the Bahamas will appeal Monday's sentence, according to his Winnipeg lawyer, Jay Prober. (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Peter Nygard's legal team in the Bahamas will appeal Monday's sentence, according to his Winnipeg lawyer, Jay Prober. (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Bowe-Darville sentenced Nygard to 90 days in jail at the Bahamas Department of Corrections, plus a US$150,000 fine due within seven days of sentencing. Defaulting on the fine payment will result in an extra 30 days in prison, plus a US$5,000 fine for each day the fine is unpaid. The ruling requires Nygard to pay full indemnity costs in the case.

Nygard is also required to make a written apology "giving full and verifiable reasons for his non-appearance" in court Friday.

He's also required to make a written promise to stop using emails that were allegedly stolen from advocacy group Save the Bays, which had previously obtained an injunction preventing those emails from being published. Nygard must pay an additional US$5,000 fine for every day those conditions aren't met.

(A Saturday news release from Save the Bays says the fines are in U.S. dollars.)

The Bahamas issued a warrant for Nygard's arrest in January, after he failed to appear for sentencing on a contempt of court conviction for breaching an injunction that prohibited dredging at Nygard's property in the community of Lyford Cay.

At the time, Nygard's Winnipeg-based lawyer, Jay Prober, said Nygard was too sick to travel to the Bahamas and subsequently appealed the arrest warrant.

Reached for comment Monday, Prober said Nygard's Bahamian legal team is appealing the sentence.

"In my view, it's unfair, it's unreasonable, it's unnecessary and it's unheard of," said Prober. "It's really very excessive... It will be appealed all the way to the (Judicial Committee of the) Privy Council, if necessary, if we don't win in the Bahamian Court of Appeal."

The judge rejected a request from one of Nygard's attorneys to stay Friday's order, according to a report in the local Tribune newspaper.

The case dates back years, after Save the Bays launched a legal challenge against the Winnipeg businessman over what it alleged were illegal dredging activities on his estate in Clifton Bay. Nygard's estate was seized by Bahamian officials in 2018 — a move his legal team decried as an illegal "publicity stunt."


Twitter: @sol_israel

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.


Updated on Monday, November 18, 2019 at 2:37 PM CST: Adds comment from legal team

The Winnipeg Free Press is not accepting comments on this story.

Why aren't comments accepted on this story? See our Commenting Terms and Conditions.