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Delta Petroleum wins Privy Council Appeal against VI Gov't

- in relation to seizure of fuel tank & fuel in September 2012
Delta Petroleum has won the Appeal's case filed by Commissioner of Customs Wade Smith in the Privy Council. Photo: VINO/File
The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (Virgin Islands) has ruled in favour of Delta Petroleum in relation to the seizure by HM Customs of Delta’s fuel storage tank No 7 at Pockwood Pond, Tortola, together with its contents (some 248,000 US gallons) on September 20, 2012. Photo: VINO/File
The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (Virgin Islands) has ruled in favour of Delta Petroleum in relation to the seizure by HM Customs of Delta’s fuel storage tank No 7 at Pockwood Pond, Tortola, together with its contents (some 248,000 US gallons) on September 20, 2012. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (Virgin Islands) has ruled in favour of Delta Petroleum in relation to the seizure by HM Customs of Delta’s fuel storage tank No 7 at Pockwood Pond, Tortola, together with its contents (some 248,000 US gallons) on September 20, 2012.

The case was heard by the Privy Council on July 12, 2016 and judgement handed down today October 17, 2016.

The seizure, according to court records, was in reliance on powers given by the Customs Management and Duties Act No 6 of 2010 (“the Customs Act”).

The issue in short is whether the fuel was liable to forfeiture under that legislation, properly interpreted. High Court Judge Vicki Ann Ellis had upheld the forfeiture, but her decision was reversed by the Court of Appeal in January 2014.

Delta had claimed that the learned Madame Justice Vicki Ann Ellis erred in law in delivering her decision.

The company had issued a release which highlighted their concerns and grounds for appeal. The release alleged that Justice Ellis erred in law in that she allegedly failed to take into consideration the fact that the basis of the fuel seizure by HM Customs was the failure of Delta Petroleum to comply with certain directions previously issued by the Commissioner of Customs and not a failure to pay customs duties on dutiable fuel, thus making the seizure unlawful.

It was noted in the release that Delta Petroleum attempted to contact the senior officer of the Customs Department responsible for overseeing the discharge of the fuel by telephone on at least three occasions (both before and during the discharge process) but was unsuccessful in doing so. The release had claimed that this evidence was unchallenged in the Court proceedings.

Battle moved to Privy Council

The Government of the Virgin Islands then moved to the Privy Council to overturn the Court of Appeal ruling which judgement on October 17, 2016 was in favour of Delta Petroleum (Caribbean) Ltd.

According to the Privy Council, the fuel seized was intended for BVIEC and Delta Petroleum was not seeking to evade Customs duties.

It said Delta has imported fuel into the British Virgin Islands since at least 1992, including fuel for use by the British Virgin Islands Electricity Corporation (BVIEC). The importation of fuel generally attracts customs duty, but there are exceptions. Relevant in this case is section 20 of the British Virgin Islands Electricity Ordinance, which allows BVIEC to import free of duty petroleum products used in the generation of electricity.

“The respondent should be entitled to the costs of this appeal but the Board gives the respondent 21 days from the promulgation of this judgment, and the appellant 14 days thereafter, to make submissions as to costs, if they so wish,” according to a section of the judgement handed down.

See link to related story:

http://www.virginislandsnewsonline.com/en/news/update-delta-not-commenting-after-appeal-hearing-victory

See link to Privy Council's Judgement:

https://www.jcpc.uk/cases/docs/jcpc-2015-0043-judgment.pdf

24 Responses to “Delta Petroleum wins Privy Council Appeal against VI Gov't”

  • Music (17/10/2016, 10:16) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    What an absolute waste of time, money, and fuel, just to satify two unreconsible egos!
  • see now (17/10/2016, 10:34) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    customs is spending too much time on the lil boaters while the big fishes getting away
    • boater (18/10/2016, 16:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      How you think Customs is paying for the high priced London attorneys? They been grubbing for money across the board trying to pay for their own nonsense.
  • ccc (17/10/2016, 11:21) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    Big up delta
  • Yes (17/10/2016, 12:01) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    Pure badmindedness and now the tax payer must foot ths bill.
    • dog man (18/10/2016, 08:01) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Ndp wanted incompetent people in position who donot know what there a doing. Under his watch the government have a lot more to lose
  • my two cents (17/10/2016, 12:16) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    This is the NDP fault because they wanted to get at Bevis so they taught they could go after him as if he was a nut without a shell. Now we the people have to pay for their folly. Just like how they stopped the Attorney General from going any further against the investment club with the water plant case to protect their shares they could have stopped the Attorney General with this case but bad mind now costing tax payers.
  • ..... (17/10/2016, 12:33) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well....there goes all that money they collected in fines.....
  • wise up (17/10/2016, 13:31) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Well guess we all didn't realize that the winner here are the lawyers
  • insider (17/10/2016, 13:33) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Wade allowed funny man lorna and gaskin to use him now he has egg on his face
  • taxpayer (17/10/2016, 14:09) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Every dog has its day!
  • watching (17/10/2016, 16:43) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just more of the same garbage . And the same will just keep happening because people forget all when the envelopes get handed out . Sad.
  • rattie (17/10/2016, 17:56) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Too much cost to the tax payer
  • bojan (17/10/2016, 23:06) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The poor cant take no more these2 smarts keep F ing up or tax money I give up it seems none involved is 1 smart all FOOLS. Every thing they do keep costing tax payers.
  • leadership (17/10/2016, 23:11) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Cusytoms need a leader. Not an oppressor or a yes man ..
  • wize up (18/10/2016, 06:25) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    yes; you realize the NDP affiliates that sued government were paid without any issues(ask the shareholders of ocean conversion)....who are the partners of ocean conversion????(dont say it so loud!!!)
  • Xxx (18/10/2016, 08:09) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Bevis beat them again
  • Lord (18/10/2016, 21:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I guess wade going look all kind of things to charge for now to foot that bill private boat owners going stt look out pay up wade we don't like u anyway
  • feds (19/10/2016, 21:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    If the bvi use to lock up these ministers and these bosses who try to bully people with their own law like the US the bvi would be a better place. We might not even be able to find anyone to run for politics


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