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Prison hangs over Rohan Marley

Woman files application following his failure to pay over nearly $15 million in damages from motor vehicle accident

Published:Sunday | December 3, 2023 | 12:09 AMLivern Barrett - Senior Staff Reporter
Rohan Marley
Rohan Marley

An application has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking to have businessman Rohan Marley sent to prison for failing to pay nearly $15 million in damages stemming from a 2016 motor vehicle crash. Rohan is the son of Jamaican music legend Bob...

An application has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking to have businessman Rohan Marley sent to prison for failing to pay nearly $15 million in damages stemming from a 2016 motor vehicle crash.

Rohan is the son of Jamaican music legend Bob Marley.

The application was filed by Trudy-Anne Silent-Hyatt, a marketing consultant, who suffered injuries and aggravated a pre-existing health condition after a truck owned by Marley and driven by Jason Walters rear-ended her car in traffic along Half-Way Tree Road in St Andrew on April 15, 2016.

In February 2021, at the end of a lawsuit filed by Silent-Hyatt, a judge concluded that the crash resulted from Walters’ negligence and that Marley was “vicariously liable” for his negligence.

Both men were ordered to pay a total of $5 million in general damages for pain and suffering and loss of amenities; $900,000 for post-traumatic stress disorder; and $218,094 in special damages, court documents show.

In April this year, the Court of Appeal ordered them to pay the marketing consultant an additional US$75,800 for future medical care, upholding a challenge by her attorney Youlande Christopher that the judge who presided over the lawsuit erred by not making an award under this heading.

ONE PAYMENT OF J$3 MILLION

An affidavit filed by Silent-Hyatt in support of her application to have Marley and Walters sent to prison acknowledged that they made one payment of J$3 million in July this year.

Since then, both men have ignored numerous telephone calls and emails regarding the outstanding balance of J$3.3 million and US$75,800, she claimed in the affidavit obtained by The Sunday Gleaner.

“And there appears to be no indication that they will be paying any further sums,” she said.

Now the marketing consultant wants the Supreme Court to compel Marley and Walters to pay up or be sent to prison “forthwith”, according to the committal application filed by her attorney.

A hearing is set for early next year.

Faith Gordon from the law firm Samuda & Johnson, which represents Marley, declined to say whether he will challenge the application.

“I am not in a position to comment on that,” Gordon told The Sunday Gleaner on Friday.

HEART ‘OPERATING AT ONLY 30 PER CENT’

Silent-Hyatt detailed her failing health and the hardships she has endured, including a heart attack in January this year, as she waited for Marley and Walters to comply with the court order.

According to her affidavit, an evaluation conducted during a follow-up visit to her cardiologist in March this year revealed that her heart is now “operating at only 30 per cent” of capacity.

And she said her doctors have recommended that she undergo tests for blocked arteries and cautioned that if this is confirmed, a special surgery to implant stents to clear the blockages can only be done “when and if my heart performance increases to 50 per cent”.

“The nature of my injuries … causes me to suffer ongoing, multiple layers of pain, which require round-the-clock treatment, insomnia, depression, and a myriad of health issues, as I have not been able to have the treatment I need to stabilise my condition,” the marketing consultant said in her affidavit.

“I continue to suffer from heightened pain due to the aggravation of my pre-existing condition [redacted] and coupled with my heart failure, recent heart attack and increased blood pressure, I have an increasingly difficult time managing said pay.”

Amid her struggles, Silent-Hyatt said “research” she conducted “appears” to show that Marley has a net worth of US$20 million derived from business investments, real estate properties in Jamaica and the United States and is a “beneficiary of his late father’s estate”.

She added that she was informed and “verily believes” that Marley owns or owned approximately 50 acres of land in the Blue Mountains.

Silent-Hyatt claimed, too, that in or about January 2021 – a month before the first court order – Marley gifted a portion of this property, worth in excess of J$20 million, to a company named Jahmaizing Limited, in which she believes he has an interest.

“A comparison of the award and the first respondent’s net worth demonstrates that he is expected to pay a small fraction of his worth in satisfaction of the award and costs that are owed to me,” the affidavit said.

“I have continued to endure pain and worsening medical conditions for over seven years since the incident. Despite this, he and the second respondent have refused and/or neglected to pay the judgment sums.”

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com