QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
Before we left Jamaica, we arranged for an entity who takes care of poor people to pay an aged man’s rent. They were late three times. On the fourth time they were late, the landlord took the aged man to court and won the case. Actually I am told that the order was made in default, because he wasnt there.
The problem is the entity has not paid the money over as yet because they are government-operated and they too have issues. The court however sent the man a judgement summons that he got. Apparently the date that he got as the deadline to pay up has passed and he is worried.
He told me that when he went to Court to ask about it they told him to pay up or he could be thrown in jail. I think this is too drastic and am wondering what is going on in Jamaica.
The aged Jamaican man does not pay his own rent, he would not have known about the court system to understand what his options were when he could not have attended Court for several reasons.
This really does not look good on my country. I cant pay the money because I am over here on welfare, and I just think it unfair how the landlord got an order and can lock him up when in the first place this man was not responsible for his rent.
Please tell me what to do. It would be too wrong if you told me I had to come up with money to pay a lawyer though.
RESPONSE: Dear Carmalita,
A number of things seem to have gone wrong and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. It is recommended that the aged man or someone from the entity paying his rent go in and speak with the Clerk of the Court. The Clerk of the court should be able to assist in getting the order set aside. The main reason being that the wrong person was sued. If the Clerk of court is unable to assist because of the time factor, the Legal aid clinic should be contacted so that an attorney can be approached to consider doing it probono on behalf of the man.
Actions must be taken immediately though.