WHO THE HELL IS LEONARD OGILVY?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE -

The last time I set eyes on Leonard Ogilvy we were at Govern­ment House at­tend­ing the swearingin cer­e­mony of the newly elected United Work­ers Party govern­ment headed by Sir John Comp­ton. By his own un­proved ac­count a proud son of Nige­ria and “a lawyer with a so­cial con­science,” Ogilvy had more than once suc­cess­fully rep­re­sented poor clients, of­ten free of charge, in the courts of Saint Lu­cia. In his fi­nal ap­pear­ance as an at­tor­ney be­fore a lo­cal judge he had rep­re­sented a group of taxi op­er­a­tors in their civil suit against the Kenny An­thony ad­min­is­tra­tion. Mak­ing the govern­ment’s case was well­known Labour Party front-liner Hil­ford ‘Poog’ Deter­ville QC, pompous pres­i­dent of the Saint Lu­cia Se­nate, and a close friend of at­tor­ney gen­eral Mario Michel who re­tired from pol­i­tics shortly be­fore the 2006 gen­eral elec­tions and now is an ap­peal court judge. Deter­ville passed away in Novem­ber 2014.

Based on his vic­tory in the mat­ter against the highly re­garded Queens Coun­sel, Ogilvy had ev­ery good rea­son to look for­ward to op­er­at­ing his own lu­cra­tive le­gal prac­tice in Saint Lu­cia. Alas pol­i­tics got in his way—in par­tic­u­lar the fact that the Kenny An­thony ad­min­is­tra­tion was de­ter­mined to prove, never mind his suc­cesses here, that Ogilvy was not what he pre­tended to be; that he was ac­tu­ally a fake. His fi­nally em­bar­rass­ing vic­tory ar­guably against one of the more feared and revered mem­bers of the Saint Lu­cia Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party and the Kenny An­thony ad­min­is­tra­tion gen­er­ally, fur­ther strength­ened the govern­ment’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to up­set the Ogilvy ap­ple cart.

Shortly af­ter he de­liv­ered a scathing anti-Labour Party speech from the plat­form of a then in­de­pen­dent Richard Fred­er­ick just weeks be­fore the 2006 elec­tions and was about to board a Vir­gin air­craft at He­wanorra for the UK, the po­lice grabbed him. He was held at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions, which made it es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult for friends here to be of much as­sis­tance.

By the time Saint Lu­cians went to the polls on the morn­ing of De­cem­ber 11 the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice had al­ready of­fi­cially de­clared Leonard Ogilvy per­sona non grata. But he con­tin­ued to chal­lenge the de­por­ta­tion or­der in the days im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the change of ad­min­is­tra­tion. I imag­ined when I saw him im­pec­ca­bly ac­cou­tered among the spe­cially in­vited guests at the Govern­ment House swear­ing-in cer­e­mony that the change of ad­min­is­tra­tion meant his trou­bles with the law were at an end—not that it wasn’t pretty ob­vi­ous no one wanted to be seen too close to Ogilvy, as if in­deed he were the bearer of some con­ta­gious deadly virus.

At one point, as he breezed past me, he hissed: “I can’t be­lieve how every­one is avoid­ing me. Even Richard, af­ter all I did for them dur­ing the cam­paign. I can’t get any­one to take a mo­ment to speak with me, not even on the phone. Politi­cians change so quickly.” Then again, the last thing mem­bers of a new ad­min­is­tra­tion with its own im­age prob­lems wanted was to be seen hob­nob­bing with sus­pect char­ac­ters, in­no­cent or not. The new at­tor­ney gen­eral proved more de­ter­mined than his im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor to let the law take its course. And in this in­stance the ear­lier pro­grammed course led up the sky and out of Saint Lu­cia— never to re­turn. There was hardly any press cov­er­age of Leonard Ogilvy’s of­fi­cially sanc­tioned forced exit.

For sev­eral months af­ter­ward he stayed in touch with the ex­press­ing via a num­ber of ar­ti­cles his de­ter­mi­na­tion to con­tinue fight­ing from afar against what he re­ferred to as “my en­e­mies” in Saint Lu­cia, the now op­po­si­tion party. From time to time he in­formed this pa­per of his suc­cess in one court case or an­other. And then the cor­re­spon­dence sud­denly ended. When on oc­ca­sion I in­quired about him, his for­mer lo­cal friends said it had been a while since they heard from him. Then this week I re­ceived from a friend the fol­low­ing from News Shop­per, an on­line UK pub­li­ca­tion: “Fake Abbey Wood Bar­ris­ter Who Pock­eted 21,000 Pounds In Le­gal Fees Jailed For Two Years!”

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing the item was a pho­to­graph that I im­me­di­ately rec­og­nized even be­fore I’d read the cap­tion that iden­ti­fied it as Leonard Ogilvy, 51, of McLeod Road, Abbey Wood. By all the story told, he had “two clients who were seek­ing ad­vice on em­ploy­ment law and an­other who needed help with a di­vorce set­tle­ment.”

Ad­di­tion­ally: “The three vic­tims paid him an ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion fee be­tween 120 and 150 pounds, with the fraud­u­lent bar­ris­ter de­mand­ing more money for fur­ther le­gal ad­vice. Two of his vic­tims didn’t go much fur­ther but one of them alone paid 19,500 pounds in le­gal fees. One of the vic­tims grew sus­pi­cious of Ogilvy’s cre­den­tials and con­tacted the Bar Coun­sel and the Law So­ci­ety.” It soon turned out that Ogilvy was “not reg­is­tered, although he tried to claim to the com­plainant that he was reg­is­tered but not prac­tic­ing.”

Leonard Ogilvy, the News Shop­per re­ported, was taken to South­wark Crown Court where he was found guilty of three counts of fraud and “will­fully pre­tend­ing to be a bar­ris­ter. He was sen­tenced on July 5 to two years in prison.”

One of the de­tec­tives in­volved in the case was Con­sta­ble Gavin Pop­plewell, of the Met’s Com­plex Fraud Team. The News Shop­per quoted him as say­ing: “Ogilvy is a se­rial con­man who posed con­vinc­ingly as a bar­ris­ter, per­suad­ing vul­ner­a­ble in­di­vid­u­als in their hour of need to part with of­ten large sums of cash for le­gal ad­vice he did not, nor was qual­i­fied to pro­vide. If other peo­ple be­lieve they have also fallen vic­tim to him, I would urge them to con­tact po­lice via Ac­tion Fraud.”

Leonard Ogilvy was found not guilty of two fur­ther counts, one of pre­tend­ing to be a bar­ris­ter and one of fraud by false rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

My sus­pi­cion is that over some ar­eas of this Rock of Sages the stars will shine brighter than they have in over a year!

WHO THE HELL IS THIS MAN? So what if all that glit­ters isn’t gold? Long be­fore the cur­rent Busi­ness­man­Pres­i­dent of the United States, a cocky forty-some­thing Nige­rian trumped a lo­cal Queen’s Coun­sel who ear­lier was both feared and revered by fel­low mem­bers of this is­land’s Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, prov­ing ahead of The Don­ald that there are times when fake is more re­li­able than the real McCoy!

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