~ Minister De Weever wins injunction ~
PHILIPSBURG--Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever has won the injunction filed against former Pointe Blanche prison Chief Operations Officer Fernando Clark pertaining to defaming statements made by Clark in various news media on October 18, whereby it was alleged that Minister De Weever had abused his power by requesting Clark to participate in sexual activities. By verdict of Friday, December 7, the Court of First Instance ordered Clark to rectify his statements because these lack factual basis and are considered unnecessarily defaming.
Clark had claimed that after he refused to participate in sexual activities some nine months ago, the process was started to prematurely terminate his labour agreement with government. However, according to the Court, this was not the reason for his dismissal.
The Court forbade Clark to make public statements about De Weever in a way that violates the truth, and/or is grievous and/or deliberately offensive, or intentionally violates his honour and good name.
As demanded by the minister, Clark received a court order to post a rectification in The Daily Herald and on Saint Martin News Network (SMN News) website within 24 hours after receipt of the judgment. He was also ordered to pay the costs of these legal proceedings, which were estimated at NAf. 2,199.50.
Clark said publicly in October that De Weever had abused his power when he requested that Clark participate in sexual activities, which Clark refused. Two weeks later the process to prematurely terminate Clark’s three-year labour agreement with government began.
Radio host Clark said his reason for coming forward with the information had to do with the statements made by Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel in a PJD2 1300AM newscast in regard to abuse-of-power charges by former staff member F.T. against Minister of Tourism Stuart Johnson.
De Weever said during a government press briefing at the time that Clark had been summoned to retract his “factually incorrect, slanderous and defamatory” remarks.
Clark said in October he had no proof, evidence or witnesses to substantiate what he claimed had happened, but said he had decided to speak out against what he claimed was abuse of power.
In this case, the personal interest of an individual not to become the victim of light-minded suspicions that harm his or her integrity, credibility, honour and good name clashes with the right of others to be able to publicly and critically inform the public about abuses affecting society.
In this light, the Court held it against Clark that he had not publicly rectified his statement that the request to participate in sexual activities had not come from Minister De Weever. Only during the court hearing of November 23, did Clark say he had meant somebody else.
Therefore, the Court arrived at the conclusion that Clark had acted unlawfully. The minister’s interest in being free from violations of his honour and good name should therefore weigh more heavily than Clark’s interests in informing the public in this way, the Court stated.