Master Fidela Corbin Lincoln has awarded damaged Police superintendent Cleville Mills in a defamation lawsuit against QFM and its talk show host Mathias “Matt” Peltier and Angelo Allen.
The suit NO HCVDOM334 OF 2015 was filed on December 31, 2015 by Mills’ lawyer, Heather F. Felix-Evans.
According to the claim form, “on January 2, 2015 the first defendant (Mathias “Matt” Peltier Jr, in the course of hosting the Hot Seat, broadcast and published or caused to be broadcast and published and the 3rd defendant West Indies Communication Enterprises Ltd broadcast and published or caused to be published on Q95FM radio, defamatory words/statements of and concerning the Claimant and concerning the claimant in the way of his office.”
It goes on to state that on November 24, 2015 the 2nd Defendant (Angelo Allen) in the course of hosting an extended edition of Inside Politics, broadcast and published on Q95FM Radio, defamatory words/statements of and concerning the Claimant and his office.
“The broadcast and publication of the words complained of on January 2, 2015 and 24 November 2015 have individually and collectively gravely injured the reputation of the claimant, have exposed him to public scandal and contempt and caused considerable embarrassment and distress,” the claim form stated.
According to the Master, “The defamatory statements were of some gravity as they touched Mr. Mills’ personal integrity and reputation and were published to a wide audience in Dominica. Further, his reputation prior to the publication were affected by his disciplinary charges and finding of guilt by the Police Service Commission (PSC) for offence surrounding the disappearance of US$16,000 from the Marigot Police Station which information was in the public domain for several years. The decision of the PSC was quashed about 4 years later and it cannot be stated with any degree of certainty to what extent Mr. Mills’ reputation was restored in the minds of the ordinary citizens by the quashing of the decision.”
She continued, “However, by law, the quashing of the decision means Mr. Mills has not been found guilty of any disciplinary offences. More significantly, he has never been convicted in a court of law of the offence of theft. Based on the evidence the publication of the defamatory statements may have had some negative impact on Mr. Mills’ reputation. It did however appear to have affected his career progression since he was promoted after the publication. Mr. Mills clearly suffered injury to his feelings and the defendants’ conduct aggravated the injury.”
She concluded that having regard to all the circumstances of this case, “I award damages as follows; Mr. Peltier and WICE QFM shall pay Mr. Mills damages in the same of $80,000.00 inclusive of aggravated damages; Mr. Allen and WICE QFM shall pay Mr. Mills damages in the sum of $80,000.00 inclusive of aggravated damages. The defendants shall pay Mr. Mills prescribed cost pursuant to the Part 65.5 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 2000.
David Bruney represented the defendants’ who say they will appeal that decision.