Court of Appeal rules against Warner in defamation case

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — An Appeal Court on Tuesday ordered former chairman of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), Austin Jack Warner, to pay a former member of the party more than TT$600,000 in compensation over defamatory remarks he made.

Justice Peter Jamadar, Gregory Smith, and Prakash Moosai, in a 73-page ruling, said that Warner, a former Government minister and international football executive, had to pay TT$650,000 to Faaiq Mohammed, a former councillor of the Chaguanas Borough, in Central Trinidad.

In 2014, Warner was ordered by the High Court to pay Mohammed TT$220,000 after Mohammed was successful in a in which case he had been defamed by statements made by Warner, who had accused him of accepting a bribe when he voted in support of councillor of the United National Congress for the post of presiding officer, during the corporation’s first meeting that year.

Mohammed had appealed the High Court award and the Court of Appeal increased the quantum also said that interest would be added from the date Mohammed filed his claim.

The Court of Appeal had found the conduct of Warner, who was not present in court, to be “oppressive”, adding “it was outrageous by any standard, even given the permissiveness of the local political gayelle. “It was oppressive. It was intended to both ‘advantage’ the appellant, and gain political advantage for the respondent,” the Appeal Court noted.

Mohammed said he was immediately expelled from the ILP by Warner.

During the High Court trial, Warner admitted defaming Mohammed and accepted liability.

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