Photographs purportedly released by convicted felon Dillian Johnson, said to be a friend of Chief Justice Ivor Archie, have been confirmed by forensic experts to be photoshopped and fake.
In a pre-action protocol letter to Express editor in chief Omatie Lyder on Friday, Archie’s attorneys —John Jeremie SC, Kerwyn Garcia, Ian Benjamin, Keith Scotland and Raisa Caesar — said independent technical experts have confirmed “unequivocally” that two photographs were “doctored” digitally and “are not genuine or truthful images but are photoshopped and manipulated images.”
Anantics is the information technology firm, based in the United States, which complied the report.
The photographs were identified as one containing an image of a person identified as Johnson wearing a badge and a second allegedly showing Johnson with another person whose back appears to be turned to the camera.
“In particular, in relation to the first photograph, the experts have confirmed, unequivocally, that the images which that photograph purports to convey, including the badge around the subject’s neck purporting to contain certain information and/or text, have been doctored (i.e., digitally modified/manipulated) and are not genuine or truthful images, but are “photoshopped” and manipulated images.
“In relation to the second photograph, the experts have confirmed that the images in that purported photograph “are photoshopped pretty well” and that, among other anomalies presented by such manipulation, “the headboard is reflective and there would be a reflection of the man sitting on the bed if he were actually there” and “the shadow placement on the white wall of the man with his back to us is off, based on the other shadows in room” and “the shadow is soft around the edges and the light appears to be coming in from the right side of the man with his back to us so the shadow would be more on the back wall than the one it is on currently” — all of which confirm that the image of the second person in that purported photograph was “definitely … added in to this scene.”
Archie’s attorneys also annexed copies of the experts’ reports in their 16-page letter, which calls for an unequivocal apology from the newspaper and a retraction for what they say are “grossly false allegations.”
The lawyers gave the Express 48 hours to respond to their letter and give an undertaking that the media house will not re-publish the photographs.
They have also asked that the series of “defamatory” articles published by the Express, dating back to November, be removed from the newspaper’s website.
Caesar, who issued the letter, said the aim of the correspondence was to have the matter settled without Archie having to initiate legal proceedings.
The letter said WhatApp messages published by the media house, reported to have been leaked by Johnson exposing an alleged threat on his life, were also deemed to be fake. “Our client has caused the images of the purported WhatsApp messages to be subjected to independent forensic analysis by subject-matter technical experts in the United States.
These experts have confirmed, unequivocally, that these WhatsApp messages have been electronically doctored and manipulated, and contain fraudulent and counterfeit images.”
In their 16-page letter, the attorneys further distanced the CJ from allegations that he discussed with his fellow judges the hiring of any private security firm to provide personal security for them, or that he recommended Johnson and other persons, including his domestic worker for State housing.
Caesar said Archie has been advised that the articles were highly defamatory of him personally and in his office and that they falsely, improperly and maliciously suggest that he is corrupt and that he has corruptly and knowingly used his office in concert with convicted felons for their benefit.
“The doctoring of photographs has the clear and obvious aim of portraying our client in a manner designed to cause him distress and embarrassment, such as to hound him out of his office. That parties (whomsoever they are) bent upon pursuing this unlawful agenda would devise such odious, outrageous and vicious means to achieve their desired ends, is bad enough. But what is worse is that your company would allow itself, without properly testing the veracity of the material which was most likely sourced by someone reported by your company to be a convict and a fraudster, to be unwittingly conscripted into this shameful and contemptible scheme,” the letter said.
“Furthermore, your newspaper has persisted in publishing allegations that it knew, and its reporter knew were false.” “The articles’ tone and content reflect a campaign of false information directed against the Chief Justice.”
The lawyers also asked that the media house subject any material concerning Archie or Johnson to forensic analysis and scrutiny prior to publication.
“Given the results of the experts’ analyses herein before set out and the nature of the allegations, which concern someone you describe as a convict and a fraudster, the circumstances demand nothing less.”