A lawyer for an Antigua-based Vincentian has written to a website in St. Vincent and the Grenadines asking the editor to apologise for a story that alleged that the Vincentian had shot someone.
Kingstown-based lawyer, Israel Bruce wrote the Aug. 2, 2018 letter to Ernesto Cooke, editor of News784.
Bruce said that on July 31, 2018, the website published a news article that named “Rey John” as the shooter in an incident that occurred at Viper nightclub, which subsequently resulted in an attempted murder charge being laid.
“Your news article left no doubt whatsoever that you were referencing our client as the perpetrator. You went so far as to highlight our client’s Vincentian nationality, describe him by using his rank as a police officer, and post a picture with his name, ‘Ray John’ listed underneath same,” Bruce wrote.
The letter continued:
“It is apparent that you failed to do any proper verification or investigation, which would have revealed that the Rey John who has since been charged is not our client, Ray John. Our client was not even present in the club where the offence is alleged to have occurred.”
Bruce said that his client is a well-known police officer in Antigua and Barbuda and the News784 article “caused his name to falsely be linked to a crime, worse yet, a crime of the most grave nature.
“Your false allegations have caused our client, his family and loved ones much unnecessary distress which we hope can be rectified or at least mitigated.”
The lawyer demanded that within seven days of the date of this letter that the editor “clarify your news article to indicate that it was not referring to our client; and publish an apology to our client for referencing him at all and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that he was distinguished from the alleged perpetrator”.
The lawyer said that he trusts that the editor would “treat this letter with the seriousness with which it is written, and that you immediately comply with our demand so as to prevent any further damage to our client’s reputation.
“You will however note that given the criminal nature of the allegations in your defamatory statement, no actual damage need be proved.
“Our client reserves the right to exercise all his legal options, but we hope that you will act promptly and in good faith, so that we can consider an amicable resolution to this unfortunate publication and its resulting effects on our client,” Bruce said.