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Campbell will vigorously defend and counter any defamation claim, say lawyers

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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Collin Campbell's lawyers yesterday said he would vigorously defend any claim filed against him in the hate mail saga now playing out between the Opposition politician and Government minister Daryl Vaz, and pointedly told Vaz's attorney that it is his client who has defamed Campbell.

Acknowledging receipt of a letter dated November 8 from Vaz's attorney, George Soutar, charging that Campbell had forwarded to a WhatsApp group, dubbed 2019 PNP MPs and Caretakers, the mail which “makes defamatory, false, scurrilous and vicious allegations” about Vaz, the law firm Knight, Junor & Samuels said its client's response is that he absolutely denies the allegations.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Collington Campbell instructs us that he neither authored nor published defamatory material as alleged,” the law firm said. “In the event that your client files a claim against ours, it will be vigorously defended and countered. Further, based on our instructions we are of the view that our client is being defamed by yours.”

In his letter, Soutar alleged that the content of the message is consistent with a post on the social media site Twitter which was authored and published a few hours earlier by Campbell, the People's National Party's (PNP) director of communications.

The anonymous message makes several allegations surrounding the recent decision by the United States to revoke the visitor's visa it had issued to Vaz.

A similar post, with equally damaging allegations, has also gone viral surrounding PNP Vice-President Phillip Paulwell, whose visa was also recently revoked by the US.

While there is speculation about who authored either of the posts, Soutar, in his letter, charged that Vaz has evidence to show that Campbell “published the defamatory matter to in excess of 60 recipients, and it has since been widely distributed on social media”.

“The material in these electronic communications is defamatory and has damaged my client's reputation, and, as communication director, you should know that your action in publishing/forwarding can give rise to a cause of action,” Soutar said.

“Consequently, we offer you the opportunity to make amends by issuing a public apology via social media and both national newspapers, and enter into discussions regarding compensation. Should you not respond as indicated above within seven days, my client will pursue litigation without further reference to you,” warned Soutar.

Campbell confirmed that he had received the letter and said that he had sent it to his attorneys.

“I can also tell you that I do not know anything about this and I did not originate it. I saw it just like they did,” Campbell told the Jamaica Observer.


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