Manager of NICE Radio and political activist, Douglas DeFreitas has been ordered to appear in court to answer 10 additional charges relating to statements he allegedly made on Dec. 10, 2015, one day after the general elections.
The Crown is alleging that the statements are likely to cause fear or alarm or disturb the public peace, contrary to Section 64(1) of the Criminal Code
DeFreitas has been summoned to appear at the Kingstown’s Magistrate Court on Aug. 29, 2016 to answer the charge, failing to do which, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.
The summonses were issued on July 26, 2015, but the new charges became public on Thursday.
DeFreitas is already facing a similar charge for which he appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on June 21.
However, Magistrate Bertie Pompey recused himself from the matter when DeFreitas appeared in court before him to answer that first charge.
The 10 additional charges against DeFreitas featured in the debate on the Cybercrime Bill in Parliament on Thursday.
In his contribution to the debate on the bill after the luncheon interval, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace said:
“Since leaving this Parliament … an hour or two ago, I’ve learnt that 10 additional charges were filed today against Douglas DeFreitas. Mr. Speaker, it is precisely because of incidents like this that one, a number of people express their concerns about the Bill. It induces fear, and even where it is evident that there are clauses which are reasonable in the circumstances, the point is, the Bill that we have before us, engenders fear in many persons in our population.”
MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, who is also an opposition lawmaker, also referred to the 10 additional charges as he debated the bill Thursday night.
“This is outside the Cyber Bill you know. This is for something that happened in 2015. And in August 2016, we still want to charge that person for creating alarm and public disorder and fear. So we ain’t get frighten in January, February, March, April, May, June. We jump up on the road July, August for Carnival and in August we still frighten for what Douggie said in December. You all gotta be serious,” said Leacock, who, like Eustace, is a member of the New Democratic Party, for which DeFreitas is an activist.
But Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves rose a point of order, explaining that the rules of the House of Assembly prohibit members from commenting on matters that are before the court.
Speaker of the House, Jomo Thomas, who is also a lawyer, upheld Gonsalves’ intervention.