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Jan 12, 2017

Godwin Hulse to get apology from Francis Fonseca

Senator Godwin Hulse took former P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca to court on a defamation charge years ago. Today, that matter went on trial before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in the Supreme Court and at the end Fonseca agreed to issue a public retraction and apology. Back in October 2013, Fonseca, as P.U.P. leader, made certain comments about the Won Hong Kim immigration scandal that Hulse considered defamatory to him as the Minister of Immigration and Nationality. Those comments were aired live on a radio station and carried in the nightly news. Hulse subsequently filed suit and last year the case reached pre-trial review. Both teams were in discussion for an extended period of time to come up on an out of court settlement but it never happened. So, Hulse pressed on and sued Fonseca – and all of that culminated today. We spoke with Fonseca’s attorney, Kareem Musa, who told us that his client has to issue a retraction and apology in three newspapers within the next two weeks, as well as pay three thousand dollars to Hulse’s attorney.

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Attorney

“The matter, like I said, has been under discussion for quite some time now and we were able to arrive at a settlement that I believe all parties can walk away with feeling a bit satisfied. As you know, there is give and take when it comes to a settlement agreement. And judgments and awards being what they are today when it comes to defamation lawsuits, I think the damages can range somewhere between twenty thousand to sixty thousand and I think one case actually went as high as sixty thousand for damages. So, there has to be a give and take whenever you are having a settlement on a defamation lawsuit. So, the outcome of today was that the Hon. Francis Fonseca will not have to pay any damages for the comments that he made but he has agreed to issue a public retraction and apology to Senator Hulse. It is an instance where I think it could have gone either way and that is why I say you have to have some give and take and that is why the Honorable Mister Fonseca has no issue in apologizing for a matter that may have offended Mister Hulse.  So, that is what will take place. He will issue a public retraction and apology. He does not have to pay any damages for the comments made, but he will pay the legal cost of three thousand dollars to Mister Hulse’s attorney.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“I believe the last time you guys were in court, you had said that the statements made were fair comment – in the public’s interest. Now, we have Mister Fonseca taking back that statement – so does he believe?”

 

Kareem Musa

“That was my statement. Those were my feelings. Certainly, it was the defense of Hon Francis Fonseca. At the end of the day, he is my client and I take instructions from him. So, if he alters his position and is willing to apologize, I have to take those instructions and go with it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, he believed the words he had uttered at that time were incorrect or inaccurate?”

 

Kareem Musa

“If they offended Mister Hulse, he wants to apologize and correct it. Like I said, the words if you take them literally and the Honorable Francis Fonseca did not mean them to be taken literally. If you look back at the transcript, you will see what I am talking about that it could go either way if you take a literal interpretation but certainly the Honorable Francis Fonseca didn’t mean them to be taken literally and so he wants to clarify and apologize to Mister Hulse, who I believe took them literally.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Godwin Hulse to get apology from Francis Fonseca”

  1. spike says:

    Godwin Hulse is good & those within the GOB who are not good should take a lesson from him.

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