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Apr 13, 2016

Is it Fair Comment or was Former P.U.P. SecGen Slandered?

Michael Young

Newspaper editor Alfonso Noble, who is named in the suit, is being represented by Senior Counsel Michael Young.  Both Young and his client reiterated that what was published in that edition of the Guardian is based on the freedom of the press to express statements on matters of public interest.  Those statements, they contend, were not made with ill will or intent to harm Palacio.

 

Michael Young, Attorney for Alfonso Noble

“The position of the defense is that this came out of a show in which Mrs. Palacio was a part host or a guest this is [Vibes] TV on the twenty-third of December 2014.  It was just before the Cayo North bye-election, so hot times in politics and there was a withering attack by her on the returning officer arising from what happened on nomination day which she thought to be unprofessional and improper.  Following her withering attack on Marcelo Windsor, the returning officer, someone called in, and obviously it was being heard by many, and said, “Well, let us have his name.  He should be reported to the creator.”  She replies, “No, no.  Burn some damn candle over ih head.  And his name is Marcelo Windsor and I will contact you later to give you the color of the candle that should be used.  That da weh yo do wid dehn kinda people.”  In that context, and having regard to the cultural beliefs, practices, phenomena in Belize, what does that mean?  We raise the issue of obeah and the point of the article which was written by Mr. Noble is, how could you have the Secretary General of the People’s United Party or of any party making a statement like that.  Public television, people are out there.  When we cross examined her, she continued to talk about her beliefs.  But what about the people out there and what about the consequences of your statement on those and what they might do?  So, the article which is being complained of says the Secretary General of the People’s United Party endorses witchcraft and witchcraft really is a word that is very widely embracive and when you look at even articles on the internet, it has to do with candles.  It has to do with dolls and all these types of thing.  The point is what she said, how it impacts on people out there was a matter of fair comment based on the true fact of what she stated in that program which we proved by way of reproducing a recording of that program in court.”

 

Alfonso Noble

Reporter

“Mr. Fonso, Mrs. Myrtle is trying to draw the comparison between you and Pastor Stirm who made those comments of the Dugu ceremony.  What’s your response to that?”

 

Alfonso Noble, Guardian Editor

“Well, Mrs. Palacio can say what she wants.  The article is there, it’s very plain, it is an article of truth.  She said certain statements, she uttered certain things and I reported on them.  It was plain and simple.  It’s a matter of fact.”

 

The matter has been adjourned to a later date.

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