Journalist Carlisle Jno Baptiste sues Chronicle newspaper
Freelance Carlisle Jno Baptiste has sued the Chronicle Newspaper for libellous statements made about him in a "Nabes and I" column dubbed "A Moder's Love". The suit was filed in the High Court on 25 February 2015.
"The said article was published by the Defendant maliciously," the court document states. "The publication constitutes a vicious and deliberate attack on the Claimant's reputation as a result of his actual and/or perceived political opinion."
Jno Baptiste's lawyer, Attorney-at-Law Cara Shillingford said the column published on June 27, 2014 made several defamatory statements about her client.
Though Jno Baptiste's was not named directly in the article, Shillingford said the unknown author of 'Nabes and I' clearly identified her client.
The lawyer said the article although it uses a fictitious name, clearly refers to Jno Baptiste because: the initials of the column's character and her client's are the same; it also rhymes with her client's name; they are both from Point Michel; John Baptiste and the fictitious person lives with their mothers; they are both always on Matt Peltier' talk show; the fictitious person and Jno Baptiste are "always in court" and the fictitious person "was in de football" according the Chronicle article. Jno Baptiste was a football referee.
A week before the Chronicle published the article, Jno Baptiste was on the 'Hot Seat' programme with Matt Peltier discussing an election poll, the lawyer added.
"Several persons who read the said article stated that they now have a low opinion of the Claimant," the lawyer stated. "The statements, innuendoes and imputations contained in the article have lowered the Claimant's reputation in the estimation of right thinking members of the society generally".
The discussion on the 'Hot Seat' was apparently the basis of the article which did not hide the fact that the article was clearly written about Jno Baptiste, Shillingford contends. In addition, to these statements the newspaper made other serious statements about Jno Baptiste's character.
Since, the article was published Jno Baptiste's reputation has been damaged and he has been experiencing distress and embarrassment due to fact he is now classified as a criminal by the people of society, the lawyer stated.
On November 17, 2014, Jno Baptiste through his lawyer wrote to the Chronicle requesting an apology and an offer of amends. However, on November 21, 2014 the Managing Director of the Chronicle responded to the letter further ridiculing Jno Baptiste and pointing out that the publication of an apology would do more harm than good to Jno Baptiste's reputation, the lawyer stated.
Still seeking an apology, Jno Baptiste on November 24, 2014 through his lawyer responded to the letter dated November 21, 2014 informing the Chronicle that legal proceedings would commence.
Following, on December 9, 2014 the defendant, the Chronicle through their lawyer wrote to Jno Baptiste once again ridiculing him, the court document stated. That letter contained no apology and no admission of wrong doing. The Chronicle has not admitted that the charges made against Jno Baptiste in the article are untrue and unfounded.
Through this legal action Jno Baptiste seeks damages for defamation, exemplary and aggravated damages, an injunction restraining the defendant from further publishing the offending words, cost, interest and any further and other relief that the Court deems fit.
Attempts at obtaining a response from the Chronicle on the matter however were unsuccessful.