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Gov't, Francis Forbes ordered to pay Owen Clunie

Published:Friday | May 24, 2013 | 5:52 PM

The Jamaican Government and former Commissioner of Police, Francis Forbes, are to make an interim payment of $12 million to former Deputy Commissioner of Police Owen Clunie in relation to the $35 million award for damages in a libel case.

Court of Appeal Judge, Hazel Harris, made the order following an application by Clunie.

Forbes and the Attorney General are appealing the award and a date is to be set for the hearing of the appeal.

Clunie, who is represented by lawyers from the firm Bailey, Terrelonge and Allen, argued that although the government and Forbes were appealing the matter, there was no real challenge that could be made on the issue of liability.

The lawyers said the only thing the court had to decide was the matter of the amount to be paid in damages.

A jury had ruled in March last year that comments Forbes made about Clunie on a television programme in 2002 and repeated in 2005 were defamatory.

The jury then made an award of $35 million in damages.

Forbes was the Commissioner of Police when he made the comments and so the Attorney General was joined as a defendant.

CVM Television, which had broadcast the comments made by Forbes during its interview programme IMPACT, was exonerated.

The defamatory comments came out of allegations surrounding a major drug-trafficking and wire-tapping investigation that was being undertaken by the police.

Clunie was cleared of any wrongdoing during a departmental trial presided over by a retired Court of Appeal Judge. 

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