Friday 24 May, 2019

Anthony celebrates dropped charges for 'obscene' Facebook video pair

Parliamentary Representative for Vieux Fort South, Kenny Anthony posted on his official Facebook page today on the outcome of the matter where two men were arrested for comments made on a Facebook video early this year:

"Some of you may remember that several months ago, I issued a statement condemning the decision of the Police to file charges against two individuals in Vieux Fort South allegedly for using obscene words in a video posted on Facebook critical of a "Mr Minister". In that statement, I had suggested that a fund be established to meet the cost of defending them.

In the end, Wayne Harrow was retained to defend David Charles better known "Appa" while Leslie Mondesir and I decided to defend Greg Mathurin free of charge. I thank my colleague, Leslie Mondesir, immeasurably. I bow to him. He is an accomplished and highly respected Criminal Lawyer.

I am pleased to advise that the Director of Public Prosecutions has decided, after several preliminary hearings, to discontinue the charges against the two individuals. This is a wise, good and welcome decision, especially given existing law. I suspect though that sooner rather than later, we will see amendments to the Criminal Code or the enactment of new laws to better facilitate prosecution in such cases."

Shortly following the arrest Anthony and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet opined on the issue. Anthony stated then, “Saint Lucia has a culture of freedom of expression on all matters, particularly those who express political opinions and that must be protected. Citizens should be free to disagree with the government and to speak out about the neglect and difficulties currently being faced in the country.”

He continued, “This is a very dangerous development with implications to all citizens who use the social media to express their political opinions on issues facing the country,” and encouraged people to donate to a defence fund of the arrested men.

Chastanet in response told reporters, “I am very happy and heartened by Dr Anthony’s change because when he was in government… and there were some people who apparently made threats against him, one can go back very quickly and see what he said at that time. So the fact that he is now choosing to cherish freedom of the press and particularly from a government that did 361, I’m very, very heartened.”

Chastanet said he had no involvement in the arrest of the men and learned about it only when it was reported in the media.

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