The future of the media’s coverage into the high-profile court case involving three interdicted police officers on conspiracy to steal charges might become affected in light of a potentially defamatory publication by a local online media entity.
The publication in question was posted on January 27, days after the High Court trial started. The headline of the article read: Trial of 3 Dirty RVIPF Cops Commences in High Court — Lead Prosecutor John Black QC said men were out to enrich selves.
Concerns about the publication were raised on Tuesday by one of the attorneys representing the accused cops – Pamphill Prevost, Simon Power and Shawn Henry.
As the attorney indirectly challenged whether responsible journalism was employed, the court was told that there were parts of the publication that was not fit for public consumption and had the potential of prejudicing the trial and the nine-member jury.
The use of the words ‘dirty RVIPF cops’ was another sticking point raised; considering the legal premise that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
In response, Justice Rajiv Persad instructed the Prosecution to write to local media houses on the matter. He further instructed them to provide him with a copy of the publication in question so that he can make a determination.
It is not immediately clear what the judge will be deciding on once he reviews the publication.
These developments follow a 2015 court order in which publishers of local media entities with online capabilities were told to disable all commentaries on articles about cases that are under deliberation in the High Court. Notwithstanding, the aforesaid media entity in question has kept its blogs open for the case.
About the case
Prevost, Power, and Henry are charged in relation to incidents that allegedly happened between January 2012 to July 2014.
The trio is collectively charged with ‘conspiracy to steal’ while Prevost and Power are jointly charged with ‘conspiracy to pervert the course of justice’.
Power stands as the only member among the trio charged with ‘acquisition, possession or use of proceeds of criminal conduct’.
Attorney Patrick Thompson represents Prevost, Queen’s Counsel Ian Wilkinson represents Henry, while attorney-at-law Israel Bruce represents Power.
On the Crown’s side, Queen’s Counsel John Black is the lead prosecutor in this case.
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