Antigua Defamation Case For Dec. Trial

Hardbeatnews, NEW YORK, N.Y., Thurs. Oct. 27, 2005: The defamation case brought against popular Antigua-based journalist Lennox Linton will come up for trial on December 8, Magistrate Maureen Payne Hyman ruled at a hearing yesterday.

The case against Linton, station manager of the island’s Observer Radio, is being brought by the country’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Gene Pestaina, over comments made on the September 16th edition of the program, ‘Wake Up Call.’

On the show, Linton, a Dominican by birth, reportedly said he “Would not be provoked into making any comment as to the suitability of Gene Pestaina for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

Linton’s statement stemmed from questions he asked about the status of investigations regarding several cases the government said it would be pursuing against former government ministers.

Those include the April 2004 decision of a trial judge that a case of ministerial misbehavior in public office would be referred to the Director of Public Prosecution to determine whether there was need for criminal proceedings.

Pestaina claims the statement subjected him to ridicule and can injure him in the office of the DPP under the Libel And Slander Act.

Yesterday, his attorney, Hugh Marshall, Jr., argued that a trial must proceed to determine whether Linton’s comments were in fact defamatory.

Linton could be imprisoned for up to 19 months if found guilty and fined a maximum of EC$7,000. –