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Don’t quote Central Bank email

Friday, August 22 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Justice Carol Gobin...
Justice Carol Gobin...

THE injunction obtained by Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran against the Newsday one week ago has been varied to give the newspaper wider coverage of any investigations it may be doing on the bank, but the High Court has retained the order to prevent the newspaper from doing any story on the contents of an email that has been circulating within the institution.

The variation was agreed to yesterday between attorneys representing Rambarran and Central Bank employee Michelle Majid, who were named as the intended claimants, and Newsday’s parent company Daily News Limited, the company’s Editor-in-Chief Jones P Madeira and Crime Editor Nalinee Seelal.

Before Justice Carol Gobin at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain yesterday, attorney Kerwyn Garcia, who appeared on behalf of Rambarran and Majid, sought to have the injunction continued in its original terms.

Newsday, through its attorney Gregory Delzin, gave an undertaking that Newsday would not publish the contents of the email.

He submitted to the court that Newsday never intended at any time to publish the contents of the email and was in fact simply reporting on its existence and the fact that Central Bank had made a request of the police to investigate a possible breach of the Bank’s information technology system to disseminate the email. On Friday last, Justice Robin Mohammed had ordered that Newsday, Madeira and Seelal “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 modified injunction arising out of yesterday’s hearing before Justice Gobin read: “The intended defendants and/or their agents be and are hereby restrained from printing or publishing or causing to be printed or published any article or headline or by line or story concerning the contents of an email dated and/or sent on May 21, 2014 internally within the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago until further order.”

During the hearing yesterday, Garcia sought to convince the judge that Newsday had breached the order by reporting last Saturday that attempts were being made by Rambarran to block Newsday from publishing the story, and on Sunday that the court had granted an injunction.

“There is an order of the court saying don’t talk about email, yet they went ahead and published,” Garcia said. “If they wanted to talk about email, they should have applied for a variation of the order.”

Gobin said it should be appreciated that, by law, every media house is bound by the injunction granted against any of its competitors. This position was accepted by both Delzin and Garcia.

Delzin had argued earlier that the move, by Rambarran on Friday, to seek the injunction restraining Newsday from publishing anything at all was premature.

He said Seelal had called Rambarran earlier and was simply conducting her investigation into a story which was not yet completed. “It was an investigation,” Delzin said. “A decision may have been taken not to publish anything at all.”

“(But) what Newsday was dealing with (when it received a pre-action protocol letter from Garcia at about 4.45 pm on Friday last) was a request not to publish anything at all concerning the email. (It was) not a request to not publish the contents of the email. What he (Garcia) was doing was casting a fishing net in the hope of catching something. His letter is not just saying don’t publish the email which is defamatory. It was wider than this and that is what is being viewed as an attack on the freedom of the press. They did not even want published the fact that the police is investigating a matter.”

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