The state newspaper – the Guyana Chronicle – has been slapped with another lawsuit, this time for over $227M for an alleged libelous article published on April 28 of this year by then Editor-in-Chief, Nigel Williams.
The lawsuit was brought by popular Guyanese-Canadian Attorney, Selwyn Pieters, who served as an elections observer earlier this year.
In addition to the Guyana Chronicle, UK-based Guyanese, Mark Devonish is also listed as a defendant. Devonish is a medical doctor, licensed by the British Medical Council, and is a Consultant on Acute Medicine at Nottingham University.
In the court documents seen by Daily News, Pieters is seeking an interim injunction restraining the defendant from disseminating, posting on the internet or publishing any statements or comments about him.
According to the court documents, the Guyana Chronicle published “defamatory statements” made by Devonish, in an article titled: “Who dem fi condemn Clairmont Mingo!”
Part of that article stated that Pieters, as an election observer “unashamedly demonstrated his disregard for rules and established norms, as he broke all the rules as it pertains to the UN Handbook On Elections Observership”.
The article by Devonish, went on to state that the Attorney “talked until his lips went white as he provided uninterrupted biased interviews to both the Guyana Times and Newsroom, both PPP news outlets”.
Further, it stated that: “He [Pieters] joined the PPP gang of Mingo-bashing, and in the process slandered the gentleman on his Facebook page with impunity.”
Those alleged “defamatory statements,” the court documents read, were made “maliciously”.
Pieters contended that those statements were intended to mean or imply that he lacks integrity and independence as a professional; that he is a law breaker; that he lacks impartiality, integrity and independence; and that he was bribed or financially induced to observe and report as he saw fit on Guyana Election 2020.
These statements, the court document said, were not based on fact.
“The statements were actuated by malice in that their implications are wholly untrue and unnecessary. The words in their natural and ordinary meaning would more than likely be considered defamatory by the ordinary fair-minded individual,” it read.
For this reason, Pieters is seeking general damages in the amount of $400,000; special damages in the amount of $400,000; aggravated damages in the amount of $300,000; punitive and exemplary damages in the amount of $300,000; and any other relief the court deems necessary.
The total amount in damages being sought is $1.4M Canadian dollars, or over $227M Guyana dollars.
Pieters contended in the court documents that the Guyana Chronicle’s “high handed and intentional conduct” and its “reckless disregard” for the harm to him in distributing Devonish’s “malicious and defamatory” writings has caused him (Pieters) to suffer anxiety, distress, humiliation, and damage to his professional reputation.
“The words complained of injured the plaintiff in his trade and calling and thereby caused him damage, include loss of income and loss of opportunity,” the court documents stated.