Lawyers for the ruling Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) candidate for North Leeward, Carlos James, have written to MP for the constituency, Roland “Patel” Matthews, demanding an apology and a payment of money to a charitable organization for calling James a “criminal” during a campaign event on Sept. 5
At the meeting, Matthews, a member of the main opposition New Democratic Party, said, “When you are given five charges in a criminal court and you have to pay, you are a criminal”.
He further said constituents will not elect someone “with a criminal record and who is famous for beating people”.
In the Sept. 9 letter, lawyers from the firm of Williams and Williams said that Matthews’ comments meant and were understood to mean that James is “a violent criminal who is in the habit of beating people”.
The lawyers further said that the MP’s statement meant and were understood to mean that James “was convicted and fined for 5 charges in the Magistrate Court … is unfit to represent the people of North Leeward… [and] has committed various offences contrary to the provision of the Criminal Code and the Representation of the People Act which are punishable by terms of imprisonment.”
The lawyers said Matthews’ actions “were deliberate and malicious” and have caused James “to be ridiculed on the airwaves and on social media where he is berates as being a violent and ignorant person who habitually fight and beats people and also a person who habitually violates the provisions of our Criminal code.
They said that the “malice” on Matthews’ part is further compounded and exaggerated by his “deliberate refusal to disclose” that the incident took place over 13 years ago, when James was 19 years old.
The lawyers further said James was fined “the paltry sum of $100.00 for a single charge of indecent language to which he pleaded guilty.
“At the same time our client was speaking in defence of another who was being unfairly treated,” the lawyers said.
James’ conviction was spent pursuant to the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, No. 15 f 2009, five years after the date of issuing the fine, the lawyers wrote, adding, that by virtue of Section 4(1) of the said Act, James “is a persons who is to be treated as not having been charged, committed or sentence for the said offence…
“These words which you uttered, constitute a grave and malicious slander upon the character and reputation of our client, and, our client demands (a) a full and unequivocal withdrawal and apology of the slander to be published in one issue of each of the local weekly newspaper, the text of such apology must be in a form which has been approved by us; (b) an undertaking not to publish and or any similar defamatory statement against our client, and (c) compensation in amount to be agreed to be paid to a charitable organisation of his choice,” the lawyers wrote.