Case details

Simon and others (Respondents) v Lyder and another (Appellants) (Trinidad & Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2018/0097

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary

Issue(s)

Whether the Court of Appeal erred in law in

  1. Allowing the respondents to rely on extrinsic facts coming into existence after the date of publication of the words complained of to establish they were referred to in the words complained of
  2. Overturning the findings of the trial judge on the references to "police officers" even if it was right in principle to allow reliance on post-publication facts
  3. Holding that the trial judge should have admitted evidence on identification from the respondents which had not been pleaded
Facts

The respondents are police officers in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. On 17 August 2007 five civilians were shot dead by police officers after the police had intercepted a motor vehicle. On 2 December 2008 the appellants, the editor-in-chief and publisher of the Daily Express, published an article (‘the Article’) headlined ‘FATAL BLUNDER – Report reveals innocent Waterfield five killed in police mistake’ and, the following day, an editorial (‘the Editorial’) headlined ‘A clear call for justice’. The article called ‘on all citizens to pay close attention to the proceedings of the ordered inquest when it came up in the Arima Magistrates Court’. The respondents were not named. The inquest took place in June 2009 and concluded that the officers involved were not culpable for the deaths. The reports of the inquest in the Daily Express named the respondents as the officers whose conduct was investigated and cleared at the inquest. The respondents issued claims for libel in respect of the Article and the Editorial. The trial judge ruled that the references to ‘police officers’ in those publications were not understood to refer to the respondents, and the subsequent 2009 reports could not be relied on to identify the respondents as the subjects of the Article and the Editorial.

Parties

Appellant(s)
  1. Omatie Lyder
  2. Trinidad Express Newspapers Ltd (sued as "The Daily Express")
Respondent(s)
  1. Garvin Simon
  2. Keavin Greene
  3. Wisden Rajcoomar
  4. David Madeira
  5. Lydon Mascall
  6. Ishmael Pitt
  7. Deryck Lake
  8. Anthony Craig
  9. Anthony Williams

Appeal

Justices

Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lady Black, Lord Briggs, Lady Arden

Hearing start date

18 Jun 2019

Hearing finish date

18 Jun 2019