Two Councillors from the St. James Municipal Corporation were awarded millions of dollars in damages in the Supreme Court court today after they successfully brought suits against two media entities.
One of the Councillors was also successful in a suit against the Attorney General.
Councillor for the Granville Division, Michael Troupe, successfully brought a defamation suit against Television Jamaica, TVJ, and CVM TV.
Councillor for the Salt Spring Division, Sylvan Reid, also successfully brought an action against TVJ, CVM TV and the Attorney General.
The lawsuits were in relation to their arrests in 2012.
PNP Councillor, Michael Troupe, who at the time was deputy Mayor of Montego Bay, along with PNP Councillor, Sylvan Reid, and three other men were taken into custody in July 2012 following a series of raids by the Lottery Scam Task Force.
Two of Mr. Troupe’s sons were also arrested, one of them plead guilty to gun charges after appearing before the gun court.
But, the two men took the Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington, and then Head of the Lottery Scam Task Force, Superintendent Leon Clunis to court for utterances made in the media following their arrest.
The pair included TVJ, CVM TV and the government in the suit that was filed in November 2012.
The Attorney General was named as a representative of the government, being held liable for the actions of the police.
The men claimed they were falsely and maliciously arrested.
The suit also claimed certain words which were spoken by Superintendent Clunis and Commissioner Ellington that were aired by both TVJ and CVM defamed Mr. Troupe and Mr. Reid.
In a ruling today, the court awarded Mr. Troupe 11-million dollars in damages for defamation against the two broadcasters.
Meanwhile, Mr. Reid was awarded a total of 12 million dollars in damages.
He was awarded $8.5 million in damages for defamation against the two media entities.
In addition, he was awarded a further $3.5 million in damages for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution against the government.
Reacting to the verdict today, Mr. Reid says his life was upended by the claims.
But, he says, he has been vindicated.
When contacted Mr. Troupe said he’ll consult his lawyer before commenting.
But, in a series of Facebook posts he expressed delight at being vindicated by the ruling.
He also issued a warning to those he says would attempt to drag his name through the mud.
Meanwhile, CEO of the RJR/Gleaner Communications Group and Managing Director of Radio Jamaica Limited, Gary Allen, says the organisation is reviewing the judgement with a view to appealing the decision.
Speaking with our news centre this afternoon, Mr. Allen says the group believes TVJ followed journalistic principles when it faithfully and accurately reported the information provided by the police.
Mr. Allen says he believes the law underpinning defamation gives the broadcaster a defence that’s grounded in journalistic principles.
Calls placed to the office of the CEO of CVM TV, Shamena Khan, went to voicemail.