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Thursday 16 August 2018
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Judge reserves decision in Potts defamation suit

A HIGH COURT judge will determine whether Citadel Limited, owners of radio station I95.5 FM and its talk-show host and sports commentator Andre E Baptiste defamed boxing promoter/manager Boxu Potts in a series of radio broadcasts over the period 2012 to 2014.

Presiding over Potts’ defamation claim for compensation is Justice Margaret Mohammed.

Potts testified at the trial at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, yesterday complaining of statements made, on live radio, on Baptiste’s programme, on September 6, 2012; March 2, 2013, and February 15, 2014.

Under cross-examination by the radio station’s attorney Raisa Caesar, Potts admitted he did not take legal action against the people who would have appeared on the radio programmes, but only the station and its host.

Named in the legal action – although they are not defendants in the lawsuit – were several local boxing personalities who were guests on Baptiste’s radio show including Molly Boxhill, boxer Tariq Haqq, trainer Franchot Moore, former world champion Claude Noel, amateur coach Floyd Trumpet, and secretary of the Boxing Association, Mario Robinson.

In relation to one of the programmes, he also denied knowing of being given an opportunity to clarify some of the issues raised at an open forum, and dismissed suggestions that the statements which he complained of were speculation and not facts.

He said the statements were negative of him and those by the commentators sought to give credence to the information placed in the public.

In his lawsuit, Potts alleges that as a result of the broadcasts, he has suffered significant financial loss and damage to his reputation.

In making the claim for $1.8 million in compensation, the suit alleges that the broadcasts have negatively impacted Potts’ name and reputation, his family and marketability, especially in the field of boxing, the area of his expertise.

He also claimed he was relieved of his post as Special Adviser to the Boxing Board of Control as a result of the defamatory broadcasts. In evidence, he said the Ministry of Sports’ communications department would listen to radio talk shows and report back to the minister.

Potts was also questioned about a disclaimer by the Ministry of Sports when his daughter was involved in a promotion.

Potts is being represented by attorneys Egon Embrack and Alexei Mc Kell.

The judge has reserved her decision.

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