Chief Magistrate to sue Kaieteur News
Says ‘libellous’ letter linked her to ‘extortionist gang’
April 3, 2003
Chief Magistrate(ag) Juliet Holder-Allen has instructed her attorneys to institute legal proceedings against Kaieteur News for defamation of character and libel.
This follows the publication of a letter in Kaieteur News’ Tuesday edition which she says implicated her as being part of an “extortionist gang.”
Stabroek News has obtained a copy of the Chief Magistrate’s letter to her attorneys, dated April 1, in which she described the published letter as being injurious to her professional reputation and says that it was designed to hold her up to contempt and ridicule.
In the Kaieteur News letter, the writer says his\her relatives were approached by two men in the precinct of the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court who said they were working with the Chief Magistrate. The men, the writer claimed, sought to solicit money to ensure bail was granted to one of his\her relatives, who had been party to legal proceedings presided over by the Chief Magistrate. No money was paid, the writer said, and the men accompanied by two others, again approached and sought to solicit money, while implicating another magistrate, to whom the matter was transferred, in the illegal transaction.
An editor’s note was attached to letter, which stated that the names had been provided and were forwarded to the police.
“The letter seems to give the impression that I am part of an extortionist gang, or might even be the head of that gang,” the Chief Magistrate wrote to her lawyers.
“I have made checks with the Brickdam Police Station,” she stated, “and no statement or complaints about the alleged extortionist activities had been received.”
She added no reports were made to the police outpost located in the courtyard which is responsible for investigating criminal activities occurring in the precincts of the court, and further, the matter was never brought to her attention.
“It is expected that Kaieteur News will do the civic thing and submit the statements of the persons who claimed to be victims of an extortionist plot so that the persons involved could be arrested and charged.
“In the absence of this, then it can only be assumed that Kaieteur News rushed to print material that could injure me with a specific purpose of so injuring me.”
She said that this was the second time “I have had cause to institute civil action for defamation of my good name and character against the Kaieteur News. As you can recall the newspaper had accepted liability for this wrongful action in the past.”