Radio manager in trouble for statements about election results

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) — The manager of a pro-Opposition radio station here is to return to court on September 13 in relation to comments he allegedly
made one day after the December 9 General Election had been won by the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) of Prime Minister Dr
Ralph Gonsalves.

Douglas DeFreitas of
Nice Radio pleaded not guilty to 10 public alarm charges that the prosecution said he made on December 10.

According to the charges, DeFreitas published a false statement, indicating that "in North Leeward, reliable resources said lawyers have taken photographs of unsealed ballot boxes", which is likely to cause fear or alarm or to disturb the public peace, contrary to section 64(1) of the Criminal Code;

The prosecution is alleging that he also made a statement indicating that "six ballot boxes were unsealed and one missing; that alone tells you that something went radically wrong", and that he also sought to encourage people to descend on Layou "in Central Leeward to show solidarity and support, if you have six ballot boxes unsealed for recount, that is contamination".

DeFreitas is also charged with making a false statement for saying: "I am telling you that there is something radically wrong with the results of North and South Leeward", which the authorities said was likely to cause fear or alarm or to disturb the public peace.

He is also alleged to have told radio listeners that they should "remember what the people of Saint Kitts did to protect democracy. We need to do that because an alleged major fraud has taken place in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines".

Magistrate Bertie Pompey, who read the charges to DeFreitas, recused himself from the case in light of another legal matter involving him and the accused.

The matter has since been transferred to the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court for the next hearing on September 13.

The main Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has claimed that the December 9 polls were rigged in favour of the ruling party and had filed petitions challenging its outcome.

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