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Magistrate loses GYD$50 million lawsuit against the DPP

Last Updated on Friday, 4 December 2020, 13:41 by Denis Chabrol

Senior Magistrate Alex Moore

Magistrate Alex Moore has lost a GYD$50 million lawsuit he had brought against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Hack for alleged defamation in a letter to the Chancellor of the Judiciary and copied to the Chief Justice.

High Court Judge, Navindra Singh reasoned that the DPP has a legal right to consult with those two top officials of the judiciary in keeping the Summary Jurisdiction (Magistrates) Act that prohibits a magistrate from adjudicating if he or she is personally interested.  The law states that the Chancellor may direct a magistrate not to adjudicate in a cause or matter or for any 0ther sufficient reason, and instead assign another magistrate.

Mr. Singh concluded that “the Claim shows that the letter is irrefutably ‘absolutely privileged’”. Magistrate Moore was ordered to pay GYD$200,000 in costs to the DPP by December 24, 2020.

Magistrate Moore had argued that the letter had been falsely and maliciously written and had summarised that he had had a personal interest in a case against former murder accused Marcus Bisram. Mr. Moore had understood the letter to mean that he had been unfit to be a Magistrate, and that he had been biased in favour of Mr. Bisram

The  Judge agreed with the DPP that she was exercising “absolute privilege.” “The Defendant contends that based on the pleadings in the Claim, whether or not any statement in the letter is defamatory, the defence of ‘absolute privilege’ is raised and has not nor cannot be overcome by the Claimant and therefore no reasonable cause of action can be found,” Mr. Singh said.

The High Court Judge said  the DPP contended that based on the pleadings in the Claim, whether or not any statement in the letter is defamatory, the defence of ‘absolute privilege’ is raised and has not nor cannot be overcome by the Claimant and therefore no reasonable cause of action can be found.