Warner loses to Kamla in court

Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar has asked Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith to se­cure im­por­tant doc­u­ments re­lat­ing to A&V Drilling in­ves­ti­ga­tion which could be lost when Petrotrin shuts down.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar was speak­ing with re­porters out­side the San Fer­nan­do High Court short­ly af­ter she won her li­bel law­suit against Sun­shine News­pa­per owned by her for­mer Cab­i­net col­league Jack Warn­er on Wednes­day.

The news­pa­per was or­dered to pay dam­ages and costs, for an ar­ti­cle in that news­pa­pers claim­ing she was fac­ing ex­tra­di­tion to the Unit­ed States for a US$20 m bank ac­count in Japan.

Nei­ther Warn­er, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the news­pa­per nor a de­fence at­tor­ney was present in court for the tri­al.

“While the mon­ey is very im­por­tant I am very hap­py that I have been vin­di­cat­ed in this mat­ter and that my name is cleared with re­spect to this very out­ra­geous, delu­sion­al al­le­ga­tions that were made against me. This was re­al­ly scan­dalous about hav­ing mon­ey in Japan­ese bank ac­count,” Per­sad-Bisses­sar said.

How­ev­er, she said she was al­so deal­ing with an­oth­er defama­tion claim, in­volv­ing A&V Drilling and she in­tends to sum­mons Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley as her wit­ness­es.

“The oth­er one is a mat­ter brought against me by A&V Drilling with re­spect to the break­ing news that I shared with the coun­try about the fake oil scan­dal I await that day in court and I am sure I will be to­tal­ly jus­ti­fied and will win in that mat­ter as well."

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said she has writ­ten to the Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er re­gard­ing the se­cu­ri­ty of files at Petrotrin which will be used as ev­i­dence in the court mat­ter be­tween Petrotrin and A&V Drilling.

She said, “There is an ar­bi­tra­tion mat­ter and we are very fear­ful that with this shut­down of Petrotrin that files will be lost, records will be lost, wit­ness­es will be lost, they will all be fired and there­fore with re­spect to ar­bi­tra­tion pro­ceed­ings we are fear­ful that giv­en the ac­tions of this gov­ern­ment that they’re in fact hid­ing and will be hid­ing very im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion, files and doc­u­ments.”

About the case

Through her at­tor­neys led by se­nior coun­sel Anand Ram­lo­gan, Per­sad-Bisses­sar sued Sun­shine Pub­lish­ing Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed, for a front-page ar­ti­cle it car­ried on De­cem­ber 4, 2015, ti­tled "Kam­la fac­ing ex­tra­di­tion to the US! - For US$20 Mil­lion in Japan­ese Bank" which bore her pho­to­graph.

In her wit­ness state­ment, Per­sad-Bisses­sar de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and ar­gued that the ar­ti­cle was base­less and false. Per­sad-Bisses­sar was the on­ly wit­ness called to the stand when the tri­al be­gan be­fore Jus­tice David Har­ris. No ex­pla­na­tion was giv­en for the ab­sence of the de­fence.

Ram­lo­gan ar­gued that no gen­uine at­tempt was made to ver­i­fy the in­for­ma­tion and it was done on the eve of the Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress in­ter­nal elec­tions to un­der­mine her prospect in the elec­tions.

The judge ruled that the news­pa­per ar­ti­cle con­tained li­bel and or­dered it to pay dam­ages, in­clud­ing ag­gra­vat­ed and ex­em­plary dam­ages to Per­sad-Bisses­sar.

The judge al­so grant­ed an in­junc­tion, pre­vent­ing the news­pa­per from fur­ther pub­lish­ing the ar­ti­cle or any sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions. Dam­ages and costs are to as­sessed by a Mas­ter of the Court at a date to be set. Warn­er could not be reached for com­ment.

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