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Govt Again Disputes Voice and Star Claims That Constitutional Motion Was heard

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Friday, February 11, 2005 - The Government of St. Lucia has taken issue with a claim in an editorial in the Voice newspaper that claims that a Constitutional Motion filed on behalf of a lawyer accused of rape was heard or ruled upon by a Judge of the High Court.

The Tuesday, February 8, 2005 issue of the Voice newspaper, in a Guest Editorial, stated in part that: “It was argued and upheld, that at least one section of the criminal Code is unconstitutional and the paying client was allowed his freedom based on that judgment.”

This statement is as false as that in the Star newspaper of February 7, 2005 which falsely stated as fact that: “Shortly before two-o-clock in the afternoon, it was confirmed that that the accused was set free on $10,000, a related constitutional motion by the lawyers of the accused having been decided by Justice Redhead in his favour.”

The Government of St. Lucia again wishes to make it absolutely clear, that contrary to what is claimed by both the Voice and the Star, the High Court never heard the Constitutional Motion and Justice Redhead never pronounced on the constitutionality of Section 593 of the new Criminal Code.

The Government of St. Lucia notes with concern that in both cases, neither newspaper bothered to ascertain or clarify the facts before going to press. Both stated as fact what is an obvious fiction.

The Government notes, with equal concern, that despite the passage of enough time to verify and ascertain the facts, and despite the availability of the Court’s Order, neither the Voice nor the Star has acknowledged or corrected the error.

The Star, in today’s issue (Friday, February 11, 2005) published an earlier statement issued by the Government on Monday (the same day it published the inaccuracy). However, it attached below the Government’s statement an Editor’s Note denying the paper said exactly what is stated in its article, and which it was correctly quoted, word for word, in the published statement.

The irreducible and incontrovertible fact is that neither of the two newspapers can prove that the Constitutional Motion was heard or that a ruling was made by Justice Redhead, because it simply did not happen. The fact is that the hearing is set for February 24, 2005.

Accordingly, the Government of St. Lucia calls on both local publications to do the right and decent thing – to acknowledge the inaccuracy of the respective claims and apologize to their respective readers for having misled them.
Such an acknowledgement and apology is due, in the least, to Justice Albert Redhead, who has been attributed a ruling he did not make.

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