Member of Parliament for South Leeward Nigel “Nature” Stephenson. (IWN file photo)

A legal expert who holds an independent position in the local judiciary does not believe that Member of Parliament for South Leeward, Nigel “Nature” Stephenson should resign for driving between 2010 and 2014 a vehicle he knew to be unlicensed.

Stephenson, an opposition lawmaker who was elected to Parliament in 2010, told to I-Witness News on Friday that he obtained the vehicle from a used car dealer in 2009 and has been paying for it over time.

Related: Opposition MP admits to driving unlicensed vehicle for years

He said that when he tried to renew the licence in 2010, he was unable to do so because the dealer didn’t want to turn over the documents to him.

“Many years ago, I remember that [a then Member of Parliament] used to be driving an unlicensed vehicle in the 80s or early 1990s. … My thing is that I wouldn’t kill a man over it. It is wrong, in principle, but then people break the law and there are sanctions and the law has a sanction for dealing with it,” said the expert whose name I-Witness News has agreed not to disclose because of their current portfolio.

The issue came to the fore in December, when Minister of Transport, Sen. Julian Francis, said in Parliament that there is an MP who has not licensed his vehicle since 2009.

There have been calls since Stephenson admitted to I-Witness News on Friday that he is the offending lawmaker, that he should resign.

But the legal expert said that those who knew of Stephenson’s violation and did nothing also failed to carry out their legal and moral duty.

“Clearly, whoever knew Nature’s vehicle was unlicensed and uninsured, why didn’t they ever challenge him on it?

“If a policeman, for example, sees somebody driving the wrong way along a one-way street, what should he do? Should be not do anything because the [offender] is a doctor or a lawyer or a journalist or a politician then go and complain to somebody else? Or should he go and confront the man?” the expert said, adding that the people who knew of the situation with Stephenson “had a legal responsibility to deal with it”.

The expert said the call for Stephenson’s head is “a cheap shot”.

“Resign over what? That he breached the law? They have big lawyers who ain’t paying Inland Revenue (income tax), who year after year not one of them will come and work in the government service because the pay is too small, but not one of them pay more taxes than the government workers.

“What do they do? Do they stop taking clients? Do we call on them to resign from the Bar Association or anything like that?

“There are lots of people who are transgressing. The thing is, let the people deal with those who transgress. I don’t think this is something to say ‘Resign! Resign! Resign!’

“We always want to call on people to resign. I am not in that mode. If his constituents are so incensed, let them deal with that,” the expert said.

Charges unlikely

The legal expert told I-Witness News that there are two principal offences that Stephenson may have breached: driving an unlicensed vehicle and driving an uninsured vehicle.

“The second offence is usually treated by the court a bit more seriously, because the consequences to other road users, if you damage them, are more severe,” the expert said, adding that they doubt that any charges will be brought against the lawmaker.

The expert noted the potential fallout from an accident in which an unlicensed vehicle is involved.

“Suppose you knock down somebody with an uninsured vehicle, there is no insurance that can cover the damage that the persons suffered. So, basically, it is up to your own resources that they will be depending on.”

But the expert noted that the court will need more than an admission to the media to convict Stephenson.

“In his case, you need to sort of ground it. Yes, he may have admitted outside of a court situation that he did these things.

“My thing is that if he is charged, you will then have to prove it, which will mean developing the paper trail proving that there is no documentation at Inland Revenue, and getting somebody who has seen him at a specific time or during that time to produce that kind of evidence.”

Stephenson has said that the unlicensed vehicle had been off the road before the revelation.

The expert said that the prudent thing to do in this case is to take off the number plates and carry them to Licensing Department.

The situation with Stephenson, the legal expert suggests, is not a very straightforward one, in light of the ownership issue.

The expert said that a licensed vehicle sold to another person remains “licensed” until the licensing period expires. Insurance, on the other hand, is not transferable.

However, to insure the vehicle, the new owner will need the paperwork to establish himself or herself as the owner.

Stephenson, has told I-Witness News that he has paid some EC$20,000 on the vehicle, but doesn’t own it outright as yet.

“An insurance company will not allow you to insure somebody else’s vehicle. If even though you are driving it, unless you have the paperwork to show you are the owner, they will say you have no insurer interest in that particular vehicle,” the expert said.

Stephenson, in light of the purchase arrangement as he described them, has an “equitable interest”, rather than a legal interest in the vehicle, the expert told I-Witness News.

“But the thing is, he can’t take that equitable interest to the insurance company. It has to be the insurance of the legal interest — the persons who owns it. So, [the car dealer] would have put a spoke in the wheel if he didn’t give him the documents.

“If the [dealer] is running a lease to own, it’s a different thing.

But it’s a difficult situation,” in light of the ownership issue,” the expert told I-Witness News.

The expert said that the dealer could have issued Stephenson a document to take to the relevant authorities, saying that the dealer retains certain interests in the vehicle.

“In other words, Nature gets the papers, goes to the insurance company and the insurance company assigns the benefit to the [dealer],” the expert told I-Witness News.

10 replies on “Legal expert says MP shouldn’t resign for driving unlicensed vehicle”

  1. This “legal expert’s” high tolerance for lawlessness speaks volumes about what is wrong with our society. No wonder we have been called “the Third World’s Third World.” No wonder we will never better.

  2. Hey mister “legal expert” you seem to want to blame the messenger than the offender…..then was this a deal under the table……why pay $20,000.00 and no title…..why no legal action on the used car dealer by Mr Nature……..questions for the police, lic dept. and FIU

  3. So! who is this legal expert IWN? You always seem to have reliable sources, now it’s legal expert with no name! Come clean nah! make yourself reliable! #ahjustsaying

  4. Shugaz Shugaz says:

    Julian knows about nature driving his unlicensed car what about the nan that killed shank dis he have knowledge of him ?Don’t see the big deal and the bickering over this issue he took his chances didn’t get caught and admitted to it ,what’s the deal with [the man] who took people money in newyork to get green card when he was a paralegal and they never get the card nor there money ,he was charging from six thousands and up .what about the rape of a number of ladies,what the lady from mespo now lives in Vermont a teacher who went to [a certain man] to seek employment and the [man] tore her clothing off and a then [high profile person] settled it because the lady husband and him are family and then soon after she was sent to teachers college […]

  5. This is not America, we have laws to deal with that. Somewhere on Face Book I am in favor of the accused not be dismissed, let alone RESIGN. Nature Stevenson has a family, are they guilty too? See my FB suggestive response. I hope this will suffice, if not, oh well……

  6. What nonsence is this. A ghost legal “expert”.
    How do we know is not a supporter of. Nature. This opinion has no value unless the expert is identified. By the way the judiciary is independent and a judicial officer would not make public comment unless in court.
    Real joke. Come again. Nature should have tried that bull in England or UsA.
    Any reasonable person would have sought advise on the issue and have it resolved within six months.

  7. …like I said in a previous post, the thing that bothers me the most about this case…is the absence of common sense.

    Lets put this into some perspective, I go to a “dealer” to get a vehicle…we come to some agreement as to how I am going to pay for this vehicle…now how in the world, would I negotiate a deal without having some sense of ownership to the vehicle?…even if I take out a loan with a bank, whether its a house or car…as long as I am paying for it…I OWN that asset UNTIL I no longer can pay for it…there should be provisions within the agreement that says if I can no longer pay for said house or car, that it would be repossessed for owed payment…this is how things are done in the civilized world…so how the f%#k, Mr Stephenson a supposedly educated fellow,is getting into an arrangement that would put him in a precarious position? This arrangement with the “dealer” sounds as unscrupulous as ever. How can you pay $20,000 for anything and not have OWNERSHIP OF IT? WTF!!

    I suspect, there is more to this story that meets the eye; cause on the face of it, this “arrangement” that Mr Stephenson has with this “dealer” is just plain STUPID.

  8. One thing for sure there would be no Nolle prosequi for him, unless perhaps he will cross the floor to ULP side of parliament.

    Sorry Mr Williams no offence meant?

  9. Remember the spite hate and malice will be applied to a legal expert the same as anyone else who speaks favourably for anything that has an NDP content.

    Stay safe legal expert, stay safe.

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