A judge in the Bahamas has fined a Canadian clothing manufacturer $50,000 for violating a court order to stop dredging near his beachfront home.
The environmental group Save the Bays, which brought the case against Peter Nygard, calls the ruling "an extraordinary triumph for environmental justice in the Bahamas."
In a statement, a lawyer for the group says Supreme Court Justice Rhonda P. Bain has found Nygard in contempt of court for violating her 2013 order to stop the dredging.
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Lawyer Fred Smith says Nygard has nearly doubled the size of his property over the years by digging up sand and placing it along his beachfront.
The 73-year-old designer moved from Winnipeg to the Bahamas several years ago.
Smith says the judge has given Nygard until March 21 to pay the fine or be sent to prison for two weeks.
A spokesperson for Nygard said the designer disagrees with the ruling but has nonetheless paid the $50,000 fine ahead of the deadline.
Nygard Holdings Ltd. was issued a permit authorizing the "lawful removal of obstructions to the marina," according to the spokesperson.
"It remains our contention that the removal and stockpiling of sand from the Nygard Cay marina was carried out in good faith in full accordance with the conditions of a government-issued permit," the spokesperson wrote in a statement.
"The permit was issued by the government after the injunction was in place and we had no reason to believe that the permit was invalid or that the government had issued it without proper authority."
Nygard plans to appeal an order to move stockpiled sand from his beachfront marina to an area known as Jaws Beach.
"There was no evidence presented in court showing that any sand removed from Nygard Cay's marina since the injunction had migrated from Jaws Beach, therefore we believe there is no justification for requiring the sand to be moved to Jaws Beach," the Nygard spokesperson said.
Full Statement From Peter Nygard Spokesperson
Full Statement From Peter Nygard Spokesperson (PDF KB)
Full Statement From Peter Nygard Spokesperson (Text KB)