COP threatens lawsuits against 3 for defamation

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– SUREASH CHOLAI

POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith has again taken legal action over statements regarding his son’s inclusion in the Trinidad and Tobago national football team.

Earlier this month, lawsuits were filed against a former national cricketer for statements made on social media.

Griffith’s attorneys Larry Lalla and Vashisht Seepersad on Friday sent a pre-action protocol letter to public relations specialist Dennise Demming and sports reporter Lasana Liburd accusing them of making defamatory statements about her.

Seepersad said the statements on Liburd Wire868’s website and Facebook page as well as on Demming’s website were “libelous, offensive, unfounded and highly irresponsible.”

The statements relate to an opinion piece by Demming, published June 24 on his website, and reposted on Wired868, titled: “Demming: Today he used his power to try to bring his son into the national tea, what will it be tomorrow? “

Seepersad said the article implied Griffith abused his post as commissioner to influence his son’s election to the national football team; was guilty of wrongdoing; was no longer fit to perform his duties and should resign or be removed from his post.

“The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the said defamatory statements contained in the said article and the innuendoes of and concerning our client, unduly booed and discredited him and suffered irreparable damage to his personal, professional, national and international reputation. “

Demming and Liburd learned that Griffith intended to take legal action against them, which would include obtaining an injunction to prevent further publications on Griffith.

However, they were told that, as a “sane alternative to a long and costly litigation”, the Commissioner was prepared to accept, as a settlement, an unqualified apology, a commitment not to repeat the allegations or not to do so. similar claims, and the payment of a substantial sum in damages “to demonstrate the unfounded allegations” and compensate him for the damage he suffered to his reputation.

They had 14 days to respond.

In a separate legal letter, also sent on Friday, the two lawyers also warned Sangre Grande music producer Alan Brizan of the commissioner’s intention to take legal action against him for defamation.

The letter to Brizan concerns statements he made in February about the death of Andrea Bharatt and two suspects who had been detained as part of police investigations into his disappearance and murder.

Griffith’s lawyers complained about Brizan’s initial post and a second post on his Facebook page.

Seepersad said: “We contend that your posts were the product of highly irresponsible, malicious and ignorant conduct, showing little respect for the reputation of our client, a public official, and his office as a police commissioner.”

Brizan also had 14 days to respond to the pre-action letter. He was also given the same options as Demming and Liburd to pay compensation and an apology.

The threat of legal action against Brizan follows a similar threat made by lawyers for the music producer in May, when a pre-action protocol letter was sent to Griffith and the attorney general’s office, accusing the commissioner intimidation and mischief in the public service.

Brizan was interviewed for hours after posting news about Bharrat’s disappearance and murder on social media on February 9.

A few minutes after posting this message, Griffith sent him a message.

Griffith also said he reported Brizan’s post to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), which was conducting an independent investigation and was considering filing its own libel suit.

In the pre-action letter, Brizan alleged a bogus three-hour jail time when he was interviewed with police.

Griffith had also been accused of using his office to obtain, coerce and / or coerce Brizan to submit to the interview, having used it as a tool of intimidation and not for a legitimate police investigation, and of having willfully and maliciously urged Brizan to change his Facebook account. post and engaged in conduct intended to further intimidate the former media editor and graphic designer.



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