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HomeNewsRegional NewsAntigua: Judge dismisses Vere Bird III’s defamation suit against PM – but...

Antigua: Judge dismisses Vere Bird III’s defamation suit against PM – but Bird intends to appeal

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By Latrishka Thomas (Antigua Observer) Prime Minister Gaston Browne has won a defamation suit filed against him for statements made on social media in 2019.

But that may be short-lived, with the claimant Vere Bird III expressing his intention to appeal the decision.

Bird – an attorney and politician – was claiming “damages for defamation against the defendant, for words published and broadcasted on Facebook on November 5, 6 and 8, 2019”.

Browne allegedly made statements referring to a Cabinet decision of 2003 where the claimant was offered an acre of land for a purchase price of $25,000.

At that time, Bird III’s father was Minister of Agriculture and Lands.

Justice Nicola Byer, having heard both sides, found that “the defendant is entitled to rely on the defences of fair comment and truth which provides complete defences to the words spoken…”

In the judgement she explained that, “The claimant has not in the court’s mind on a balance of probabilities, proven the defendant knew at the time that he made the posts, that the statement was false, indeed all that the defendant said (and so found by this court) was based on a truthful interpretation of what transpired.”

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