Tahoe loses appeal over Escobal lawsuitThursday January 26 2017 – Street Wire
by Mike Caswell
A group of Guatemalan
protesters may pursue a lawsuit in B.C. over their treatment by security
forces during a 2013 incident at Tahoe Resources Inc.’s Escobal mine,
the Court of Appeal for British Columbia has ruled. The court has
determined that B.C. is
the more appropriate venue for the case. It is far from clear if the
protesters would receive any compensation through the Guatemalan courts,
three appeal judges have determined.
The ruling, published on Thursday, Jan. 26, is a substantial setback
for Tahoe. A lower court judge previously declined to hear the case,
finding that the B.C. courts were not the best place to hear the matter.
The protesters all lived in Guatemala and their
alleged injuries occurred there. They were also participating in
suitable legal proceedings in that country.The appeal court, however,
has determined that the protesters will have trouble pursuing their
case in Guatemala. The court proceedings in that country have been
stalled since late 2015. One of the key participants was a Tahoe
security manager named Alberto
Rotondo, who had been under house arrest in Guatemala while the case
awaited trial. On Nov. 29, 2015, he fled Guatemala, travelling to his
native Peru.In Mr. Rotondo’s absence,
the Guatemalan courts have suspended the trial. They have also held Mr.
Rotondo in contempt and ordered his arrest. Guatemala is attempting to
extradite Mr. Rotondo from Peru, but so far has not had any success.
According to the
appeal judgment, he may never be extradited and without Mr. Rotondo,
the case in Guatemala will not go ahead. It is also unlikely that the
protesters will be able to open a separate proceeding against just Tahoe
because of the considerable time that has passed
since the events, the appeal ruling states.