Dec 05, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – The High Court has dismissed a $50M claim for defamation brought against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali- Hack by Magistrate Alex Moore.
According to the claim, Moore on July 22, 2020 filed a lawsuit for damages based on the contents of a letter written by the DPP.
The letter addressed to the Chancellor of the Judiciary of Guyana and copied to the Chief Justice of Guyana was captioned: ‘Re: Conduct of Magistrate Alex Moore in the charge of the Police vs Marcus Bisram for the offence of murder, Contrary to Common Law.’
The letter purportedly expressed the view that Magistrate Moore has a personal interest in the matter. In his claim, Moore said that by that publication that the DPP meant and was understood to mean that the claimant was unfit to be a Magistrate and that he was taking the side of the defence in a murder charge brought by the prosecution against Marcus Bisram.
In the document, Moore noted further that by reason of the matters, he has been greatly injured in his character, credibility and reputation, and has been held up to public ridicule and has suffered mental anguish, distress and depression.
However in a ruling delivered on December 2, 2020 High Court Justice, Navindra Singh noted that contrary to claims of Moore that he was defamed, the DPP, who has conduct of all prosecutions in the State of Guyana by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution of Guyana must be able to communicate frankly and freely with the Chancellor in ord
er that the Chancellor can properly make an informed decision with respect to a request under Section 12 of the Summary Jurisdiction (Magistrates) Act.
Justice Singh noted that as a matter of public interest, the DPP is granted such privileges.
As such, the judge upheld Ali-Hack’s application for the Court to strike out the claim on the ground that the pleadings disclose no reasonable basis for instituting the case.
Among other things, the DPP had called the claims by Moore an abuse of the process of the Court, frivolous and/or vexatious since, as the DPP she is protected in the execution of her office under the provisions of the laws of Guyana.
Further, she emphasized that the case is an abuse of the process of the Court since it seeks to ignore or bypass the provisions of the Justice Protection Act; CAP 5:07 of the Laws of Guyana, which protection she is entitled to.
Given the circumstances, the Judge said that the claim shows that the letter is irrefutably ‘absolutely privileged’. In the circumstances, he granted the application filed by the DPP together with costs in the sum of $200,000.00 to be paid to the DPP on or before December 24th 2020.
During the trial, Magistrate Moore was represented by lawyers Mayo Robertson and Arudranauth Gossai while attorneys Robin Stoby S.C. and Jamela Ali and Kim Kyte-Thomas for the DPP.
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