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'Office of the Contractor General should not enjoy absolute privilege'

Published:Tuesday | July 9, 2013 | 10:01 AM

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter



Attorney-at-Law Dr Paul Ashley says reports from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) should not enjoy absolute privilege and therefore should be subject to a lawsuit if defamatory material is contained in the document.




Opposition Senator Alexander Williams, had suggested in his contribution to Friday’s debate in the Senate on the Defamation bill, that the OCG or any similar oversight body should only enjoy protection from lawsuits when its reports are tabled in Parliament.



The Opposition senator also raised questions as to whether reports from the OCG that is published in other forms should be treated similarly.



However, Ashley says the office should not be covered at all.



He believes Section 23 of the Contractor General Act which prescribes absolute privilege for reports out of the OCG and provides safeguards to the office against lawsuits for defamation, should be revisited.



Ashley argues that the Contractor General, like any media entity should do due diligence and deal with his investigation properly.



The OCG has declined to comment on the matter.



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