Bryan Jeeves OBE forced to go public

Mr Justice Burton has ruled that Bryan Jeeves OBE, former honourary consul to Lichtenstein, must be asked in public about his involvement in offshore property company Casterbridge.

In 2000, Casterbridge was wound up by the High Court. The winding up petition alleged a connection with Hever Worldwide, which was allegedly selling timeshares illegally. Jeeves was also ordered to attend a public examination about Caster-bridge, which he has not done, but on 22 November 2001 Judge Burton ruled that Jeeves had to attend.
Jeeves was represented by Daniel Lightman of Serle Court, instructed by Druces & Attlee. Richard Ritchie
of 24 Old Buildings was instructed by the Treasury Solicitor for the official receiver.
The official receiver first ordered Jeeves to attend a public examination earlier this year and to answer questions under oath in front of anyone wishing to attend, including the press. Jeeves refused, arguing that a St Vincent law, which he himself drafted, forbade him to answer questions in public about the company.
Judge Burton's judgment stated: “The risk of sanctions against the applicant [Jeeves] – the effective author of the St Vincent legislation – is in any event, even if it exists at all, considerably less than has been submitted.”
This was the first time that a court has even considered in any detail how and when an order for public exam-
ination should be made.
The judge accepted Jeeves' entitlement to challenge the order, although Jeeves' case was not strong enough. Where Jeeves failed to persuade the judge that he had to avoid public examination, others could now succeed.
Jeeves is planning an appeal.