Property tycoons Nick and Christian Candy today won their bitterly-fought legal battle with millionaire entrepreneur Mark Holyoake, but all three men were found to have been “willing to lie” by judge Mr Justice Nugee.
Both brothers attended court to hear the judge give his ruling dismissing Holyoake’s claim against them.
Holyoake was also present to hear the judge criticise both parties in his summary of the decision, the full version of which runs to 200 pages.
The judge said: “None of the protagonists (Mr Holyoake, Mr Christian Candy and Mr Nicholas Candy) emerge from the trial with great credit. Each has been shown to have been willing to lie when they consider their commercial interests justify them doing so.
“Mr Holyoake repeatedly lied – including in a formal statement of case for this action – and he and his associates resorted to forgery, deceit and impersonation.
“Mr Christian Candy, with the encouragement of his brother, told a series of deliberate lies to Mr Holyoake.”
The judge ordered Holyoake to pay £5.7m upfront towards the Candy brothers’ legal costs.
They will press their claim for fuller payment of their costs – in excess of £11m – at a hearing in January, at which time the judge will also deal with the question of whether or not to grant Holyoake permission to appeal.
The judge said: “It seems to be inevitable that Mr Holyoake will end up paying a large amount of costs to the defendants.”
In a statement issued on their behalf, Nick and Christian Candy said: “We have won the case. The judgment shows that Mr Holyoake and his accomplices are well practised liars and forgers of documents, and Mr Holyoake even lied to the court repeatedly as part of the High Court proceedings. The judge saw through his lies and dismissed every one of Mr Holyoake’s claims.
“It has taken a great deal of time and effort to win this case and it has caused unwarranted damage to our personal and business lives. The claim should never have been brought. We look forward to time more positively spent with our families and in our respective businesses.”
Holyoake had been seeking more than £100m from the brothers, claiming they “coerced” him out of millions of pounds after Christian Candy’s company CPC lent him £12m to buy Belgravia mansion Grosvenor Gardens House in late 2011.
The Candy brothers strongly refuted the allegations and argued that Holyoake was an unreliable creditor who lied to them from the start. They maintained that Holyoake’s allegations of coercion were fabricated.
Mark Holyoake said: “We, the claimants, are in a state of disbelief that Mr Justice Nugee has not ruled in our favour and intend to seek an appeal with immediate urgency. Anyone reading today’s judgment will see that there are currently no winners here.
“I stand by our allegations and maintain that my own actions were deployed in self-protection and wholly justified in the circumstances.”
The case was heard between February and April this year, and the judge’s ruling has been eagerly anticipated for the last eight months.
TRIAL AND TRIBULATION: Mr Justice Nugee rules in favour of Christian and Nick Candy in an explosive case that has dominated 2017. Find out more about the background of the trial, listen to expert views and look back at the at the case as it unfolded.