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Court stops Newsday

Sunday, August 17 2014

Governor of the Central Bank, Jwala Rambarran, has obtained an injunction from the High Court ordering Newsday not to publish a news story that the company’s Crime Editor, Nalinee Seelal, has been pursuing over the past few days. The story relates to the behaviour of an employee of the Central Bank, and had not been completed when the Governor initiated his action against the newspaper.

The injunction does not name the Central Bank as a party to the action, but lists Rambarran along with one Michelle Majid, as intended claimants in the matter. Majid is described in the court documents as an employee of the Central Bank. The injunction cites Newsday’s parent company, Daily News Limited, the company’s Editor-in-Chief, Jones P Madeira and Seelal as intended defendants.

The development follows queries made directly to Rambarran on Friday by Seelal regarding the behaviour of one of the employees of the institution. The Governor declined comment on the issue then and had his attorney, Kerwyn Garcia, issue a letter to Newsday demanding to know whether the newspaper was going to run a story on the matter, and threatening legal action if it did. Garcia gave the newspaper until 6.30 that evening to indicate its intention to him.

Following telephone calls to the newspaper, the Governor’s legal team went to the High Court — currently on vacation — at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain late Friday night and was granted the injunction against Newsday by Justice Robin Mohammed. The injunction was granted ex parte without the defendants having an opportunity to state their case.

The injunction was first served on the Editor-in-Chief at his Arima residence just after midnight, and on the company at its Chacon Street offices several hours later, at about 11.55 am yesterday. Seelal was not served up to late yesterday.

The court ordered that “the intended defendants (Madeira, Seelal and Newsday) and/or its (their) servants and/or agents be and are hereby restrained from printing or publishing or causing to be published any article or headline or by-line or story the subject of or relating to the matters stated in a document attached to and/or contained in an email dated and/or sent on May 21, 2014 internally within the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, until further order.”

The injunction tells the intended defendants if they neglect to obey the order they “will be liable to process of execution to compel you to obey same, and will be guilty of contempt of court and may be sent to prison or fined or your assets may be seized.”

The order affords Rambarran and Majid’s interim remedies to be heard during the court’s long vacation, fixing Thursday coming at 10.30 am at the Hall of Justice for the return of the injunction.

The intended defendants, under the order, are at liberty to apply to the court to discharge the injunction.

The judge’s order also grants permission to Rambarran and Majid to use the unsworn affidavit of Elena Arajaujo, attorney-at-law, in support of its (their) applications on the grounds of urgency pursuant to the Civil Proceedings Rules of the Court.

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