Independent Liberal Party (ILP) chairman Jack Warner has 90 days in which to pay to deputy Chaguanas mayor Faaiq Mohammed the court-ordered compensation for an attack on his character in 2013. However, if Warner is successful in his appeal to the Privy Council, the money will be returned to him.
That was the condition proposed by Mohammed and endorsed by the Court of Appeal, which on Wednesday granted Warner conditional leave to challenge a judge’s ruling that he defamed the deputy mayor on the hustings.
Mohammed, represented in court by Alvin Pariagsingh, did not object to leave being granted to Warner, but objected to a stay of the payment of the compensation until the London court determines the appeal.
The deputy mayor proposed that the money Warner owed – some $737,666.67 – should be paid to him within 90 days, failing which he can move to enforce the judgment of Justice Vasheist Kokaram. If Warner wins at the Privy Council, the money will be returned to him. The condition, proposed by Mohammed, was agreed to by Justices of Appeal Allan Mendonca, Gregory Smith and Peter Rajkumar.
In May, in a 73-page written decision, in which they all agreed on the increase in the quantum of damages and exemplary damages for Mohammed, Justices of Appeal Peter Jamadar (now retired), Gregory Smith and Prakash Moosai ordered Warner to pay more compensation to Mohammed. Their award amounted to $650,000, with interest to be added.
Mohammed, who is also the councillor for Charlieville, is also represented by attorneys Anand Ramlogan SC.
Warner had accused Mohammed, who was an ILP councillor in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation, of accepting a $2.5 million bribe to vote for a United National Congress (UNC) candidate for the post of presiding officer during the corporation’s first meeting.
The former ILP chairman also threatened to “deal with” Mohammed and ensure that “his political career is finished.” Mohammed was immediately expelled from the ILP.
In 2014, after Mohammed filed a defamation claim in the High Court, Warner conceded liability at the trial, despite, as the appeal court judges described it “the conscious, intentional, wilful and relentless defamation of the appellant by the respondent over a continuous period of seven days,” and “in circumstances where no offer to apologise or apology has ever been made.”
“The effects on the appellant’s reputation were immediate, destructive and long lasting,” Jamadar said in the decision.