first_imgLocalNews Privy Council deliberates on Linton/Byrne defamation suit by: Dominica Vibes News – April 22, 2015 Share Tweet Share Sharing is caring!center_img Kieron Pinard Byrne (file photo)The Judicial Committee of the London-based Privy Council is expected to rule today in a defamation lawsuit involving Opposition Leader Lennox Linton and chartered accountant Kieron Pinard Byrne.The issue before the five Justices; Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, and Lord Toulson was whether the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal was wrong to have overturned the Judge’s rejection of the defence of qualified privilege following Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd [2001] 2 AC 127.Kieron Pinard-Byrne, who appealed the matter to the Privy Council, was involved in an investment and development programme in Dominica known as the Layou River Project. The facts of the case according to the Privy Council are that on 26 February 2002 the appellant was a guest on a radio call-in programme discussing the Layou River Project. Mr Linton, a journalist, called into the programme and made comments accusing the appellant of criminality, dishonest and unprofessional conduct.Lennox Linton (file photo)Mr Linton repeated these allegations in an article published on the internet in May 2002 which remained live until September 2003 entitled Professional Conduct Procedure – The KPB Version. Mr Pinard-Byrne brought a claim against the respondent on the basis that these statements were defamatory and Mr Linton relied upon the defence of qualified privilege. The High Court upheld Pinard Byrne’s claim.The Court of Appeal however allowed Mr Linton’s appeal and upheld the defence of qualified privilege.Mr Linton told the Privy Council this morning that he “behaved in the most responsible manner”.“I have nothing against Mr Byrne…all of the comments I’ve made have wholly and solely to do with the Layou River Hotel Project,” Mr Linton said in his arguments.But Mr Byrne’s lawyer argued that Mr Linton “is a political activist making comments”.“The more serious the allegation you make, which is the first of the Lord Nickson factors, the more investigation you should have done and the more responsible you need to be before you make it”.“I submit that it doesn’t really matter who it is, whether it’s a journalist or a politician, the more serious the allegation is that you make, the more harm that is going to be caused, so therefore the more responsible you need to be before you make it”.He added; “I don’t think it’s right to say that because you’re not trained, or you’re not responsible, you should somehow be free-er to liable and damage people than a journalist but it will depend ultimately on all of the facts and circumstances that are put before the court”.Additionally, he submitted that the Court of Appeal erred, “it set the standard of journalism far too low, it concluded that there were investigations when there weren’t investigations by Mr Linton that could justify in the Reynolds defence from publishing the allegations that he did”. The Justices of Appeal rose to deliberate at 9:42 local time and have not yet returned. Share 295 Views   no discussionslast_img read more