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Apr 18, 2012

Minor receiving threats; family will sue newspaper

The incident raises serious ethical questions about how tactful the media should be with cases involving minors and suicides. The family of the youth, whose name was exposed in the newspaper article is taking their case further. The seventeen year old boy has received several threats to his life.  His sister says that an apology is not enough and their family will sue the newspaper.

 

Demois Williams, Sister of Minor Exposed by Article

“My family is upset about two things; the mere fact that the facts in the article were questionable in regarding to the young lady’s name and the fact that they put my brother’s name in it and he’s a minor.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Aside from all of that, what grief has reached your brother and your family?”

 

Demois Williams

Demois Williams

“Words really can’t describe the grief that has reached us. It’s like you’re living in an alternate; it’s like a parallel universe we’re going through because nobody ever wants to experience anything like that—seeing somebody you know deal with loosing someone that they love. And then you have the media creating a circus over the whole thing. It is like a slap in the face on top of everything.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Some studies have shown that even advertising situations like suicide it gives encouragement to others. So there must have been some disappointment the way it was plastered on the front page.”

 

Demois Williams

“Of course it was. It was completely insensitive at that. I mean even when you are dealing with regular murder cases, you don’t see images of the actual murder victims in that state. It wasn’t courteous to her family, it was disrespectful to my family and how could you put that for the whole world to see and put it on your website at that is outrageous.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“One police officer has said that threats have been coming to your brother since this thing occurred.”

 

Demois Williams

“Yes because of the whole misconception because of the article, he has been receiving text messages from various people. We know a couple of them and basically it’s like he can’t find a sense of security because he is afraid to leave home, he doesn’t want to be in school because he doesn’t know who is going to come after him, when they will come after him.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“How about the photo and the actual letter that she wrote? Those photos, do you know where those came from?”

 

Demois Williams

“Well in the article it said that the family declined comment and the mere fact that they did, so obviously—and nobody was allowed on the crime scene except for the police—so obviously that reporter that did the story got his evidence from the police department. It had to be from them.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Now legally, your brother is a minor, you know all of these facts, what does your family intend to do regarding this situation?”

 

Demois Williams

“We intend to exercise or legal right. We have every intention of suing because this isn’t a slight matter; this is a serious thing. They ruined my brother’s reputation. That will stay with him forever; they set it in stone.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“And this will be going just for the newspaper or are you also going to question the department about what they did?”

 

Demois Williams

“You have to take everything one at a time,  so right now let’s deal with what Amandala did and then face the bigger dog after that.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“So your family is seeing a lawyer today?”

 

Demois Williams

“Of course, we do intend to meet with a lawyer to discuss this matter.”

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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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18 Responses for “Minor receiving threats; family will sue newspaper”

  1. brightman says:

    Sue them for everything they’re worth!! We CAN NOT allow such insensitive, irresponsible, and downright distasteful pseudo-journalism to become the norm in Belize!!

  2. Storm says:

    It might be poor taste to print the truth in cases like this, but I can’t imagine it is legally wrong to do so. Free speech is more important than the claimed embarrassment of the boy if his own poor behaviour is reported accurately.

  3. Brightman says:

    A lawsuit is very much in order. Such blatant disregard for the families is irresponsible, insensitive, and disrespectful. We must NOT allow that kind of pseudo-journalism to become the norm in Belize!!

  4. Belmopan says:

    It was a bad judgement call by the Editor of the newspaper.

    If i was in his shoes i would personally apologize and then publicly apologize for the situation.
    The pain is irreversable but Belizeans are understanding people and the entire is a loose-loose-loose situation for the deceased, the young man and the newspaper!

    Although i have no affilation whatsoever with the newspaper or the young man i know the Vivas family and i would like to say sorry this sad moment in there lives had to be magnified by a lapse in lapse in judgement!

    Our prayers are with the family and the message is
    “God heals all wounds”

  5. Ragamuffin says:

    Morally wrong but legally?????? Don’t know… I’m no lawyer but I bet if it’s a losing case only the lawyers will profit from this case….Bunch of damn crooks

  6. hard woking Belizean says:

    Get some sense “storm”!! Free speech of course but for a worthy cause and our rights as Belizeans, not on such sensitive & personal matters! Would want to know if you would think the same if it happened to YOU!!! In addition, now that young boy’s life is in danger…..Come on!! Worst that there’s a killing spree in the old capital and nothing gets done about it! Ketch some sense “Storm”……..WAKE UP BELIZE!!

  7. General says:

    I will have to say that the best the family concerned with this case is an apology from the editor and staff of the newspaper. the newspaper has the right to report what it wants, they have the beautiful right of speech, we call it basic human right to speech and knowledge. if the family goes ahead with a law suite they will waste their time and roughly 3k in lawyer and court fees per court appearance, if they don’t encounter punitive damages on the newpapers part.

  8. BT says:

    Unfortunately for the family, no law has been broken and if they sue Amandala they will need to prove that harm has been suffered as a direct result of the actions of the newspaper. Even then, the court would have to agree that the actions of the newspaper were malicious (harm was intended) or at the very least the newspaper acting knowing they would bring harm to victim.

    I certainly do not condone what Amandala did. I feel it was irresponsible, gratuitous, and devoid of basic journalistic ethics. However, I don’t see how the families involved could seek damages at this point. However, threatening a law suit may paint Amandala into a corner where it may not be prudent to acknowledge and apologize for their actions for fear it will be seem as accepting liability.

    ………

  9. Louisville,Ky says:

    I think it was insensitive and maybe even a bit cold to have sensationalized on that newspaper’s part , putting that picture and detailed information as it did. Legally wrong? I do not know, as I am not a Lawyer.
    Could it be that the victim’s family is now trying to capitalize on what is already a troublesome matter? Am just asking………..

  10. Brightman says:

    @General, despite the fact that Belize is ridden with simpletons who fall for everything Amandala spurts, there are also many brilliant and caring individuals who know where to draw the line. Among them, I am confident , are highly competent lawyers, who would be willing to take this case pro bono, and set precedence for others to follow!

  11. now i see says:

    I think that the ones that should sue are the parents of the girl. They are the ones that lost more thanks to the boy. I dont see why the boy should beneffit from some one else pain. He is alive and he could be later on with someone else but, the parents will never see her again. I feel sorry for the boy also but i dont agree that his family di si dolla sign.

  12. shy says:

    I find it outrageous that this young mans family wants to cash in on the death of the young lady as if the pain he caused the young lady was not more than enough. I have heard that there is another young lady whos feelings he also played with and then dumped and the young lady also wanted to do the same. If there is anyone who should sue it should be the young ladys family because they are the ones who had there daughters dead body on the front page of a newspaper. The newspaper should at least have the decency to apologize and pay for the young ladys funeral after the insensitive act they comitted.

  13. L.C. says:

    @shy & @now i see:

    Do you know how absolutely ridiculous “I find it outrageous that this young mans family wants to cash in on the death of the young lady…” sounds?

    1. What does him playing with other girls’ feelings have to do with publishing the name of a minor in the newspaper? This should not have happened AT ALL.

    2. You are right in saying that the young lady’s family should so. That is a given. But the family of this young man had the right to sue as well.

    The complete lack of ethics and decency by the paper should not be tolerated. Now, this young man is being threatened, and for what? Being a player? Since when has being a player been a crime? Next you’re going to tell me that I can’t date two girls at the same time to see which one I like better.

    Both families should sue Amandala out of existence. Take them for everything they’ve got. I don’t care if it is not a lot. Shut down their operations completely. The day that someone takes a stand and fights this kind of nonsense is the day that we start seeing changes around the country.

  14. Elgin Martinez says:

    Then the people who are sending the text should be arrested and charged.Phone records can be traced.Wake up Belize.It is also my opinion that the Police Department should be held responseble because it’s their duty to protect the crime scene.Furthermore those pictures shouldn’t have been released to anyone without the parents consent.Wake up Belize and learn to respect other people’s privacy.

  15. Al says:

    This is certainly a tragedy, how this young man is to be blamed is beyond my understanding. He has a right to date whom ever he pleases. Parents are allowing their children to grow up too soon. They are so young and do not even understand what love us. Educate these young people please.

  16. MAR says:

    OVIOUSLY,SAD TO SAY THIS YOUNG LADY HAD PROBLEMS BESIDE THIS BOY,ITS VERY SAD THAT OUR YOUNG LADY OF TODAY HAS THE NEED TO BE LOVE BY A MAN,AT 17 YOU SHOULD BE HAVING FUN GOING TO SCHOOL,ENJOYING LIFE BASICALY,WHERE WAS HER PARENTS?MY HEART BLEEDS FOR MY YOUNG WOMEN AND MAN OF BELIZE THE DISREGARD OF OTHERS FEELINGS AND THE DIS RESPECT OF HUMAN LIFE.PARENTS PLEASE LOVE YOUR KIDS NOT JUST SAY IT BUT SHOW IT,BE APART OF THEIR EVERYDAY LIFE,GIVE ALL THE LOVE YOU CAN GIVE,SHOW RESPECT,TEACH RESPECT,TO THEM.LOVE THEM……..

  17. livelaughlove says:

    this is so sad..first of all everyone has their own opinion…this girl was so young and there were so many things in life left for her to do.killing yourself over a man makes no sense..you cry and you move on..yes that young man didn’t appreciate you, but another man would have..some men come in our lives for a reason..they teach us stuff and we learn from it…on the other hand, this young man looked like he messed with this young girl’s emotion..men out there..if you know you are not in the relationship for the right reasons then leave these girls alone.. if she planned on killing herself for this guy obviously she told him what she was going to do..cause if i were in her shoes i would..i feel sad for both parties but if you want to be a little player, messing with young girl hearts then u kind of deserve what you are going through.the sad part is she killed herself for him, she won’t have anymore boyfriends and he’ll be here enjoying life and having other girls…FEMALES OUT THERE PLZ!!! A GUY IS NOT WORTH DYING FOR!!

  18. Brightman says:

    @livelaughlove…do you know the details of their ‘relationship’…so you know the details of this girl’s life?? You are already judging and placing blame on this young man, who under the law is STILL a minor!! There are far more profound issues at the heart of this…this boy does NOT deserve his privacy to have been violated, and we must be careful of how quick we are to place culpability! The one smart thing you said is that indeed, no one is worth committing suicide for.

    @ Al and L.C….thank you for being sensible!!!

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