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Jun 11, 2018

Mek Mi Rich Litigants Back in Court

The Court of Appeal kicked off its June session this morning with the long-awaited appeal of Belize Telemedia Limited against Curtis Swasey. It concerns Swasey’s charge, made in 2015, that his original idea of using texting to conduct the established lottery draw was co-opted by B.T.L. and his information used to propel the “Mek Mi Rich” game show created by Andre Vega and Sanjay Hotchandani to television airwaves. In February of 2016, Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel found in favor of Swasey, but damages of only twenty-five thousand dollars were ordered as the judge could not rule based on the financial information available to him. Both sides have launched appeals and the case was heard by a panel of President of the Court Manuel Sosa and Justices Samuel Awich and Lennox Campbell. Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay summarized the arguments this evening after the court concluded.

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Curtis Swasey

“There was an agreement between my client, Mr. Swasey, and Belize Telemedia, that the information that Mr. Swasey would provide to them with respect to the game he had designed using the Telemedia system was confidential, so there was an agreement to that effect. The trial judge, Mr. Justice Abel, has found that in fact the information was confidential, and the big issue is whether or not it was shared with MMR for MMR to launch Mek Mi Rich. The judge felt that there was, but only awarded twenty-five thousand dollars in damages, so the purpose of our appeal was to raise the amount of damages. With respect to Telemedia, they are appealing saying to the court that the information was information that was publicly available, and Mr. Swasey was not able to prove that it was his. So there are two appeals, really, one against the finding of the trial judge and one against the amount of damages. What we tried to show the Court of Appeal was that the trial judge in fact considered all the evidence; there was evidence before him on which he could have come to the decision he came to. The sharing of the information with MMR is, of course, circumstantial evidence and we showed to the court certain items of evidence that leads to the inference that there was a sharing, and the reason for that is because it was taking over two years for Swasey to convince Telemedia that they could implement his project; when in fact it took much less than two years, less than a year before they were able to use Mek Mi Rich. And so we are saying that they used the information that Swasey had given to them, in order to allow Mek Mi Rich to springboard ahead of him.”

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