The former editor of the Mirror newspaper, Guy Ellis, says an appeal is likely after a High Court judge awarded Opposition Leader Phillip J. Pierre EC$40,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) in damages over an issue dating back to 2011.
“We are studying the judgement and there is a good chance we will appeal. We think there are a number of grounds on which we can appeal,’ Ellis told this reporter without further elaboration.
Justice Godfrey Smith awarded Pierre a total of EC$40,000 in damages, including aggravated damages after he filed two law suits following the publication of a letter in the newspaper on April 15, 2011..
In the first lawsuit, Ellis, the Mayers Printing Company Limited and the Mirror Publishing Company Limited were named as defendants. The companies are owned by Guy Mayers, a former national security minister here and now the island’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
Mayers was also Pierre’s political opponent who had lost the Castries East constituency in the December 2006 general election to Pierre.
Pierre, a former government minister, had filed the lawsuit claiming that the intent of the letter “titled “Mr. Pierre’s Great Wall”, was to depict him as a corrupt, selfish representative who put his personal needs above those of his constituents.
The second lawsuit was filed against journalist, David Vitalis, who served as editor of the paper, as well as the Mayers Printing Company Limited and the Mirror Publishing Company Limited.
It was heard jointly with the first and arose from the fact that the paper carried an article headlined “Libel Case Struck Out,” on January 13, 2014, indicating that the first claim had been struck out.
However the case was eventually reinstated with judgement being handed down recently.
According to the judgment, the second article repeated the allegations against Pierre contained in the first article, along with excerpts of comments from interviews with Mayers and Ellis.
The judge said that the defendants did not seek any comment from the claimant.