Former Jamaican Prime Minister Acquires J$12.5m In Libel Case

Former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson was rewarded $12.5 million (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.0089 cents) in damages in his libel case against Nationwide News Network and its head Cliffe Hughes.

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The case stemmed from a new article that was aired by the media house in 2009 that defamed Mr. Patterson, as he asserted in the court documents. It involved the radio station’s coverage of the arrival of a plane carrying Patterson and executives of the telecommunications company Digicel at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, in May 2009.

In the 135 paragraph judgement, High Court Judge Paulette Williams highlighted key issues to arriving at her conclusion.

At one moment, she argued that “…the fact that at the time the information was received, it may well have been considered to be a subject matter of public concern, and the information turned out to be false and this meant, that in reality the public received misinformation.”

She also added that the story that was aired ought to not have entered the public domain.

The lead counsel for Patterson, K.D Knight, also said the outcome was not a surprise.

He said several attempts were made to deal with the matter out of court, to no avail; “and having to court, we felt very comfortable with the case that we had to deal with.”

He also added cash now for bad credit was never an issue for the former Prime Minister.

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