The legal battle between Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, and Chartered Accountant Kieron Pinard-Byrne in a long-running defamation matter, is not over yet.
Pinard-Byrne is now demanding that Linton pay $340,926. 39 in the matter which started in the local courts and went all the way to the London-based Privy Council.
In a letter dated, April 21, 2016, attorneys for Pinard-Byrne, DeFreitas, DeFreitas and Johnson, said, “We refer to the costs Order made by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council dated 29th day of January 2016.”
“In furtherance of the term of the said Order that costs be assessed if not agreed, we attach herewith, a breakdown of the cost incurred by our client in prosecuting this matter before the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.”
The letter stated that Linton should inform the attorneys no later than the 28th of April if he is in agreement with the costs. The breakdown of the costs is below.
The matter centers around the Layou River Economic Citizenship Program and the Layou River Hotel project and goes back to 2002 when Pinard-Byrne sued Linton because of an article published on the program on a website and statements made about the same program on a radio show, on which Linton was a guest.
In his suit, Pinard-Byrne said he was libeled by Linton.
In March 2011, the High Court in Dominica ruled in favor of Pinard-Byrne.
The matter was taken to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) in March 2013 and the High Court’s decision was reversed with a ruling in Linton’s favor.
The ECSC, in its ruling, said its decision was based on ‘qualified privilege.’
Qualified privilege gives the press some level of immunity from defamation charges for statements made in good faith, unless it can be proven it was done with malice.
Immediately after the ruling, Pinard-Bryne’s attorney, Tony Astaphan, took the matter to the Privy Council since, according to him, the ECSC’s ruling had narrowed the issue of qualified privilege ‘much too much.’
When the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal met in Dominica in March 2014, the judges granted leave to Pinard-Byrne to take the matter to the Privy Council after Astaphan said his client had fully complied with all the rules as laid down by the court of appeal.
The Privy Council ruled in favor of Pinard-Byrne saying he was indeed libeled by Linton.
In its ruling, the Privy Council said that costs before the ECSC and the Privy Council must be paid by Linton.
Recently, Linton was ordered to pay Pinard-Byrne $79,324.86 in the same matter by the High Court in Dominica. The Privy Council had also ordered Linton to pay £20, 000 in court costs before the Judicial Committee and the new costs will be the final payment.
Below is a breakdown of court costs as demanded by Pinard-Byrne:
Pinard-Byrne costs before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
-Anthony W. Astaphan SC – EC$28, 750.00
-Simon Murihead & Burton (PC Agent) Fees & expenses inc. Adam Speker – EC$177, 503.19
-De Freitas, de Freitas & Johnson disbursements – EC$3, 424.30
-Cost before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council – EC$209, 677.49
Pinard-Byrne costs in Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court DOM HCVAP 2011/0017
-Anthony W. Astaphan SC – EC$50, 000.00
-De Freitas, de Freitas & Johnson – $EC33, 333.00
Leave to appeal to Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
-Anthony W Astaphan SC – EC$28, 750.00
-DeFreitas, DeFreitas & Johnson – EC$19, 165.90
-Costs before Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court: EC$131, 248.90
Total – EC$340, 926. 39