Eight years after Rickford Burke, New York-based radio talk show host filed a $20M libel suit against Guyana Times, Multi Technology Vision Inc. and Little Rock Television Station Inc., Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George handed down a ruling last month dismissing the libel suit against the media entities.
Not only was the matter dismissed but the court also ordered that Burke pay the sum of $100,000, to MTV and Guyana Times and the sum of $200,000, to Little Rock Television.
According to a court document seen by this newspaper, Little Rock was awarded more because Burke failed to give any or no admissible evidence against the defendant. Burke’s claim is in defamation for damages for libel published on January 30, 2013, on MTV channel 14/65, on the programme “Straight Talk” hosted by Kwame Mc Koy; on January 31, 2013, by Guyana Times and on January 30, 2013, by Little Rock TV.
Burke alleged that the media entities published and broadcast an offensive story about him being arrested for identity theft. Burke also sought an injunction restraining the publication of the offending article headed “Rickford Burke charged with Identity Theft” and the broadcast of a news item “APNU official Rickford Burke charged with Identity Theft in New York.”
Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes represented Burke; while attorneys-at-law Charles Ramson and Sanjeev Datadin represented MTV and Little Rock TV; Guyana Times was represented by attorney-at-law, Ronald Burch-Smith.
The Chief Justice (Ag) ruling stated that Hughes submissions merely relied on the evidence as establishing the claims made by his client, while Burch-Smith made three points that she considered to have merit. Burch-Smith’s submission highlighted that the evidence led can only relate to the publication in the Guyana Times newspaper and that the evidence about subsequent publication online cannot be taken into account since the online publication had to be treated separately, and no amendment of statement was sought by Burke.
Burch-Smith’s submission also highlighted that Brandon Burke, the brother of Rickford Burke, was not detailed in his evidence as to what Guyana Times article he read which referred to Rickford. Brandon’s evidence outlined that he saw an offending TV programme on January 30, 2013, and the next week he read the news article.
Burch-Smith stated that the claims of Rickford is that the news article was published by the newspaper on January 31, 2013, so therefore it is unclear what article Brandon read especially since he gave no evidence on the contents of the article.
Rickford claimed that he suffered damages to his character; however, he did not provide the article that he read and even though he and his witnesses testified about the offensive article, they did not give specifics of what they read.
The ruling also stated that Rickford claimed that the publication was done in Guyana and there is no evidence of damages to Rickford’s character in Guyana; as such, the Chief Justice handed down her ruling and the libel suit was dismissed.
Initially state-owned Guyana Chronicle and NCN Television, along with Multi Technology Vision Inc., Little Rock Television, Guyana Times and Presidential staffer Kwame McCoy were each sued for broadcasting or publishing the story. The Chronicle and NCN Television have retracted the story and apologized. However, Burke has said that the apologies were “wanting, disingenuous and lacked prominence to the offensive publication.”
Aug 05, 2020From ‘Ghetto’ to Glory… By Sean Devers Caribbean Bantamweight Boxing Champion and 2021 Olympic hopeful 21-year-old Keevin Allicock grew up in the heart of the ‘Ghetto’ in Albouystown...
Aug 04, 2020
Aug 04, 2020
Aug 04, 2020
Aug 02, 2020
Aug 02, 2020
By Sir Ronald Sanders Amid the feverish work to cope with both the public health and economic effects of COVID-19 on their... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]