In a defamation action brought in May 2014 in the High Court of Dominica, and bearing suit number DOMHCV 2014/0214, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and members of his Cabinet (“the Claimants”) sought damages against Opposition Leader Lennox Linton and the owner of a radio station broadcasting as Q95 (‘the Defendants”) for allegedly publishing certain defamatory words uttered by the opposition leader at a youth rally and broadcast via radio and the internet.
In their Defence, the Defendants pleaded justification, fair comment and qualified privileged – three of the available defences to defamation.
Contending that the Defendants did not disclose any proper, viable or sustainable defences of justification, fair comment or qualified privilege, the Claimants applied to the court to strike out the defence. The Claimants made that application after both sides had filed Witness Statements (the evidence that each witness intended to give at trial) and disclosed the documents they intended to use at trial.
Our investigations reveal that on 24th August 2016 Mr. Douglas applied to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ seeking special leave to commence proceedings against the State of Dominica. His action arose from the 23rd February 2014 denial of entry, detention and deportation of Jamaican recording artist and entertainer, Mr. Leroy Russell (also known as “Tommy Lee Sparta”), along with three other Jamaican support staff. The contingent of four had gone to Dominica for an international concert organized by Mr. Douglas in observance of the annual carnival in Portsmouth. The denial of entry ultimately caused the cancellation of the concert.
Ruling against Mr. Douglas
The Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ is the sole body responsible for interpreting and applying the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) which stipulates, among other things, the rights of individuals under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). An individual alleging breach of CSME rights by the State - as Mr. Douglas was alleging - requires special leave (or permission) of the court before he can bring an action.
"With Grenadians likely to go to the polls within the next three months to vote in a referendum on making changes to the 1974 Constitution document, attorney-at-law Ruggles Ferguson who is involved in the organizational work appears to be pretty optimistic about the outcome."
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The 11th Regional Law Conference of the OECS Bar Association will convene in Anguilla on 12th September 2014. The Conference is designed to bring together members from various bar associations throughout the sub-region of the Eastern Caribbean and beyond.
It provides an opportunity for continuing legal education to members of the legal profession and it enables attendees to hear from law professors, other legal luminaries and members of the judiciary about legal development in the jurisdiction and beyond. It also provides an opportunity to network with members of the legal profession and to create strategic alliances.