On Libel and Gags

I don’t have much tiome to write today, so this one will only be very quick.

Most know by now that the Auditor General has been placed ‘in custody’ as a result of the BHC leak, that the Government is appealing the release of the gag order (and thus keeping the gag in place for the timebeing), and that the Premier and at least MP Bascome have issued a writ suing the media for slander and defamation.

Obviously, I’m not a lawyer. But it is my opinion that if the Auditor General was not directly involved in the leak but instead recieved copies of the leak from the alleged leakers, I don’t follow why he is under detention, unless he obstructed the police in uncovering the origins of the leak. I believe he does not have to reveal how he came to have access to the leak, but cannot obstruct the police searching premises with an appropriate warrant. I was of the understanding that the Auditor General only recieved the leak, and that in and of itself is not a crime as I understood it. Indeed, he should have access to the document anyway.

I think it is good that the Premier and MP Bascome have decided to take legal proceedings agains the media in that this should require them to refute the allegations publicly. I do however think it was a crude attempt to stall the proceedings concerning the gag, and I think that was silly. I also wonder if once can sus the media for slander and defamation, for as I understand it the media is only reporting the allegations contained within the files and has not at any time stated definitively that the allegations are true, but rather that they do exist as simply allegations, so I’m not really sure what the point is. The battle to be won in my opinion is that of public opinion, and not legal trickeries a la Singapores Peoples Action Party’s style of governance.

I hope the gag order is lifted; I think such an action should only be used in the case of witholding personal information of an intimate nature, but the public have the right to full access of information to all allegations as well as refutations from the relevant parties. I reiterate my call for a full release of all secret files and treaties concerning Bermuda, and that the Gag order only serves to make th ewhole thing stink of fish.

Once more, I sincerely hope that the allegations can be proved as false, but also stress that the PLP is supposed to better than the UBP, and not make the same mistakes or percieved mistakes.

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