PM in court on defamation matter

A High Court Mas­ter will de­cide the com­pen­sa­tion that Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) par­ty ac­tivist Bri­an Stone has to pay Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley for defama­tion, lat­er this year. 

Row­ley yes­ter­day took a wit­ness stand be­fore Mas­ter Martha Alexan­der at the Hall of Jus­tice in Port-of-Spain, to tes­ti­fy on the as­sess­ment of dam­ages in the defama­tion case. 

Ac­com­pa­nied by a team of Spe­cial Branch po­lice of­fi­cers, Row­ley spent al­most 15 min­utes in the court be­fore be­ing ex­cused by Alexan­der. 

 Stone was ini­tial­ly seek­ing to have Row­ley cross-ex­am­ined by his lawyer Robin Mon­tano but was de­nied as he failed to make an ap­pli­ca­tion un­der the court’s rules. 

Af­ter the brief hear­ing, Alexan­der gave the par­ties dead­lines for fil­ing sub­mis­sions af­ter which she would give her de­ci­sion. 

Row­ley’s law­suit against the for­mer Caribbean New Me­dia Group (CN­MG) chair­man is based on state­ments Stone post­ed on his Face­book page in late 2017. 

Stone al­leged­ly ac­cused Row­ley of re­ceiv­ing bribes from a cer­tain seg­ment of so­ci­ety and of en­gag­ing in cor­rup­tion in re­la­tion to the con­struc­tion of a build­ing in west Trinidad. 

Row­ley at­tempt­ed to serve the claim on Stone in Oc­to­ber 2017 but was un­suc­cess­ful. 

High Court Judge David Har­ris then grant­ed Row­ley’s lawyers an or­der al­low­ing them to serve the law­suit in a se­ries of news­pa­per ad­ver­tise­ments over a two-week pe­ri­od.

Row­ley ob­tained a de­fault judge­ment against Stone af­ter he failed to sub­mit a de­fence to the claim as re­quired un­der the Civ­il Pro­ceed­ings Rules. 

Row­ley is be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Michael Quam­i­na.