Tesha Miller sues TVJ for defamation
A legal battle is brewing between Television Jamaica Limited (TVJ) and alleged leader of the Spanish Town-based Clansman Gang, Tesha Miller, who is suing the broadcast house for defamation and for vindicatory damages for breaches of his constitutional right to a fair hearing guaranteed under the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, 2011.
In court documents obtained by The Gleaner, Miller, who is currently in custody facing charges of accessory before and after the fact to murder, is claiming that in a March 19, 2019, broadcast, he was falsely, wrongfully and maliciously characterised, thereby causing loss, damage and injury to him.
Citing that TVJ is the island’s premier local television station, Miller claims that the words were calculated to malign him, exposing him to hatred, contempt and ridicule, and “therefore tended to lower him in the estimation of right-thinking members of society, including potential jurors”.
Subsequent to the broadcast, Miller’s attorney, Bert Samuels, sent a letter to the company’s Lyndhurst Road offices in St Andrew, demanding a retraction and apology for a phrase used to refer to his client.
According to Miller, TVJ failed to retract, apologise or acknowledge receipt of the letter.
Shena Stubbs-Gibson, senior legal adviser for the RJRGLEANER Communications Group, of which TVJ is a subsidiary, acknowledged receiving Samuels’ letter and said the station had responded.
“Further, we are prepared to put our evidence to a court of law and have same determine a) whether Mr Miller has a reputation that was capable of being, or indeed was, injured, by the broadcast in question, and b) if Mr Miller’s reputation is otherwise good, whether our broadcast was indeed defamatory, and cannot be defended. We have sent the claim to our external counsel for guidance,” she added.
In respect of his constitutional rights, Miller claims that the words have prejudiced the public to the extent that it is not possible for him to exercise the right to be tried by unbiased and impartial jurors.
Miller wants the court to award him damages for slander and vindicatory damages with interest at a rate and for a period which the court deems just.
He is also asking the court to award him costs and any such relief as it may deem fit.
Miller was last year charged with accessory before and after the fact to murder of then managing director of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, Douglas Chambers, at the state-run bus company’s complex in Spanish Town on April 27, 2008.
The allegations are that Miller was present at a meeting where Chambers was accused of giving money to a man called ‘Richie’ and not to the gang. At the meeting, Miller allegedly gave permission to André Bryan, also known as ‘Blackman’, to kill Chambers.