Prime Minister Andrew Holness has made good on his threat to file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Television Jamaica, Radio Jamaica Limited and the owners of the show 18 Degrees North.
The lawsuit is in response to a programme which was produced and presented by Zahra Burton and aired on TVJ.
Mr. Holness’ attorneys say on May 30 this year TVJ, RJR and Burton falsely and maliciously published an untruthful and defamatory personal attack on the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister is seeking aggravated damages on the basis that the defendants were reckless in their publication and had no honest belief in the truth of the publication.
Aggravated damages are being sought by the Prime Minister.
This on the basis that the programme in question persisted with broadcasting on false premises without any effort to check the accuracy of claims made.
According to the claim form filed the Prime Minister’s legal team – TVJ and 18 Degrees North, persisted with allegations despite being directly contradicted by Attorney Patrick Bailey .
Burton, TVJ and RJR are also being accused of creating a false impression that Mr. Holness interfered in the award of government contracts when he was Education Minister.
The Court has also been asked to note that the defendants have not disassociated themselves publicly from the words complained of nor apologized.
The Prime Minister’s attorneys say Miss Burton has refused to inform his legal team of a land based address for contact despite receiving a written request.
According to Holness’ attorneys, the broadcast was politically motivated.
The claim form says the Prime Minister has been severely injured in his credit, character and reputation and has been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt.
Radio Jamaica Limited is listed as the first defendant in the documents filed in court by Mr. Holness’ Attorney Gordon Robinson.
TVJ is listed as the second defendant, while Burton is listed as third defendant.
Burton’s entity Global Reporters for the Caribbean which is the operator of 18-Degrees North is listed as the fourth defendant.
The claim form notes that Holness was first elected as MP in 1997, at the age of 25, and is now in his fifth consecutive term as MP.
The multi-million dollar lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court on June 2.
Meanwhile, the injunction barring TVJ and 18-degrees North from re-broadcasting a programme on Prime Minister Andrew Holness has been lifted.
18 Degrees North announced the discharge of the injunction on its face book page today.
Show producer and presenter, Zahra Burton, says she’s now free to re-broadcast the episode.
But according to Miss Burton, the decision whether to rebroadcast will be made jointly between TVJ and the entity Global Reporters for the Caribbean.
According to Miss Burton, costs for the injunction hearing have been awarded to her.
It’s understood that payment of the legal fees will be determined following the conclusion of Mr. Holness’ lawsuit.
In June, lawyers for Prime Minister Holness secured an ex-parte injunction barring TVJ from re-broadcasting the programme.
PM Holness, had threatened to sue for what he described as libelous content aired on the programme.
The order from the court followed a letter of demand by Mr. Holness’ lawyer Gordon Robinson giving TVJ one week to apologize and discuss the payment of damages to Mr. Holness.
Prime Minister Holness’ attorney indicated in the application filed that TVJ had failed to respond to their letter of demand.
Mr. Holness’ lawyers had also argued that the rebroadcast would do more harm to their client than a postponement of the broadcast would do to the defendants.