Pinard-Byrne,left, and Lennox Linton
Pinard-Byrne,left, and Lennox Linton

On April 22, 2013 Lords Clarke, Wilson, Sumption, Carnwath and Toulson of the British Privy Council heard the libel case between appellant Kieron Pinard-Byrne and respondent Lennox Linton.

They now await a decision of the court.

In a summary of the case published on its website, the Privy Council states that accountant Pinard-Byrne is asking the court to determine "Whether the Court of Appeal was wrong to have overturned the Judge's rejection of the defence of qualified privilege following Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd."

The Privy Council added: "The appellant is a chartered accountant who was involved in an investment and development programme in Dominica known as the Layou River Project. On 26 February 2002 the appellant was a guest on a radio call-in programme discussing the Layou River Project. The respondent, a journalist, called into the programme and made comments accusing the appellant of criminality, dishonest and unprofessional conduct.

"The respondent repeated these allegations in an article published on the internet in May 2002 which remained live until September 2003 entitled Professional Conduct Procedure – The KPB Version.

"The appellant brought a claim against the respondent on the basis that these statements were defamatory. The respondent relied upon the defence of qualified privilege. The High Court upheld the appellant's claim.

"The Court of Appeal allowed the respondent's appeal and upheld the defence of qualified privilege."

Earlier, as he prepared to face the court, Linton, now the political leader of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) said that he would have explained to the Lords of the Privy Council the absolute mess that various governments made of a multi-million dollar citizenship by investment programme that started with the Dame Eugenia Charles administration.

Meanwhile, the Linton/Pinard-Byrne case may be the last case that the Privy Council hears on behalf of Dominicans. A few months ago, Dominica acceded to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as it final court of appeal.