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OPINION: Lennox’s D-Day!!

by: - April 29, 2017
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Thursday April 27th 2017 – Lennox’s D-Day!!
A Double Whammy

By: Roseau South

Mr. Lennox Linton must be ruing the day – Thursday April 27th 2017. It would be interesting to know how he reacted after receiving two separate decisions from two separate courts. One decision is in its final stage and the other, perhaps subject to further litigation by way of appeals to the East Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) or further to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) might have some ways to go yet. In both instances, the decisions of the courts went against him with serious implications for his personal finances, the finances of his party or to a lesser extent his “rich family and friends in Europe”. Either way, I am of the view that he would have much preferred a different decision in each case. That is enough to spoil (for want of a better word) someone’s day.

More than a decade ago, Mr. Kieron Pinard Byrne (KPB) sued Lennox Linton for libel and defamation over statements he Linton (then a radio talk-show host, certainly not a journalist) made over the failed Layout River Hotel project. The matter went through the entire court system all the way to the Privy Council. Remember Mr. Linton is on the record as saying that the Privy Council is the only institution where he can get justice. And justice he got.

In the first decision Dominican awoke to the news form the London based Privy Council that Mr. Linton was ordered to pay £45,000.00 pounds sterling (EC $160,000.00) representing KPN’s cost in the above named matter at the Privy Council, which was heard wo years ago in 2015 and the judgement delivered in 2016. Back then (2016) the Privy Council had ordered Mr. Linton to pay £20,000.00 as compensation to KPB. Linton dutifully paid that amount, but not before a radio-thon was organized on his favorite radio station which was followed by a most despicable behavior at the office of the attorney representing KPB by the brother of Linton. When a few weeks later, Mr. KPB submitted a description of his costs for litigating the matter at the Privy Council, Mr. Linton objected and decided to return to the Privy Council for final determination on the matter of costs. I well remember a statement to the effect that Mr. KPP will not demand when and how much he will be paid. To the Privy Council the matter returned. That decision has now been settled. The Privy Council however did not consider KPB’s costs at the East Caribbean Court of Appeal which was included in the package from KPB and which Lennox refused. He preferred a decision of the Privy. KPB’s costs at the East Caribbean Court of Appeal remains a separate matter to be dealt with by that self-same court.

In the second judgement on Thursday April 27th 2017, Mr. Linton’s defense in a matter where he accused the Cabinet of Ministers (government) of “harboring rapist Ministers” (plural) was thrown out. In order words, the High Court, through a very intelligent and skillful attorney (High Court Judge) concluded that Mr. Linton did not present any good reasons in law why the matter should go forward for full litigation. My view is that his defense was not worth the paper it was printed on. He could not defend the dastard statement he made about decent individuals who had dedicated themselves to serving in public life. Part of the defense claim he was not referring to all Ministers of the Cabinet, but rather one in particular. But listeners of the spoken word easily understood what was said. Unlike his “political God-father and mentor”, who never says what he means and never mean what he says, Mr. Linton is a straight shooter. There was no ambiguity to his statement. He even spelled the word “prostitute”. Listeners knew exactly what was said.

The options now available to Mr. Linton are that he may choose to appeal the decision of the learned judge, exposing himself to additional costs, or he may allow the matter to return to the High Court for decision on costs and potentially other punitive matters. The attorneys then would negotiate a settlement package, less acerbic to what could potentially result following an appeal to the East Caribbean Court of Appeal. Consider too, that the Ministers who sued were asking for $1,000,000.00 compensation. If, and it’s a big “IF” Mr. Linton accepts this present decision, it will be left to the judge who hears the arguments on costs in the matter to decide what levels of compensation he/she will approve. He might just escape further financial distress if he opts to settle now.

That is why Thursday April 27th will go down as a “damn blasted day for Lennox Linton, his party (UWP) and his scores of “poor” supporters upon whom the full measure of the economic costs of whatever decisions he take will depend on.

These two decisions are indeed no consolation to a man who has about three, perhaps four more law suits that have been filed in train complaining of defamatory and slanderous statements that he has made and for which he has not provided any evidence that can stand the rigors of our legal system. Considering the backlog in the court system, these decisions are expected to be handed down over a period of time. But he still prides himself as a “no face; and bold face” politician who prefers to speak directly and in abstracts, calling people’s names, even when he seemingly does not have the evidence. So in his quest for political power and unafraid to call names, he remains a prime candidate for further law suits.

Last year the recently “returned MP” from Roseau South was given the boots by the hierarchy together with the rank and file members of the blue party. He has seemingly forgotten that infamous delegates Conference in Mahaut, where his political soul was sucked out of the Dominican landscape. The party brought him to an all-time low based solely on an allegation that is yet to see the beginning of the light of day in our court system. That was in 2016. In 2017, we have a man who has been found guilty of defamation. Shouldn’t he be given a similar treatment? But then again I am dreaming. The party’s court system which found my returned MP guilty of an allegation will never be convened. Double standards you call that. What day! April 27th 2017.