Sun, May

Gary Griffith III (left) and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (right)

POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith has taken legal action against a former cricketer for statements on a news website questioning the brief inclusion of the commissioner’s son on Trinidad and Tobago’s national football team.

Griffith’s attorneys Larry Lalla, Vashisht Seepersad and Taruna Mangroo, of the law firm Atticus Finch, filed the defamation claim against Deonarine Deyal, one of the T&T Cricket Board’s under-19 selectors. Deyal was served with the claim on June 9.

A judge has yet to be assigned to the matter.

Griffith’s claim accuses Deyal of making a highly defamatory post under a news article on the Wired868 Facebook page about the selection of his son Gary Griffith III.

The post was made on January 27.

The article on Wired868 was headlined: Fenwick adds 8 N/American players to T&T squad: No space for Cyrus and Lobo.

The lawsuit, filed in the High Court, alleges that Deyal “saw it fit to publish” from his Facebook profile, in the comments section under the article, a defamatory statement questioning the selection of Griffith III.

Griffith contends that the “ordinary and reasonable-minded reader, upon reading the post, would have believed the defendant to be implying or inferring or conveying by way of innuendo” that the commissioner was “guilty of bribing” the former head coach of the team as an inducement for his son’s selection.

It alleges that the obvious inferences of Deyal’s post would be understood to mean that the commissioner was guilty of bribery, biased in his duties, exercised his discretion unlawfully, used his office and position for his own benefit and his son’s, had abused his power, was guilty of misconduct in public office, was corrupt, dishonest, lacked morality and integrity, was unworthy of the public’s trust, was not fit to hold public office and deserved to be condemned and ridiculed by the public.

Griffith is asking for an injunction to stop Deyal, or anyone associated with him, from making the same or similar allegations against him. He also wants compensation for the defamatory post.

His lawsuit said the defamatory words had lowered him in the estimation of readers nationally and internationally, since the Wired868 news page can be viewed by a large audience worldwide and allows anyone with access to the article or post to screenshot and share it.

The claim also says Deyal elected to publish the unfounded, unsubstantiated defamatory statements to embarrass Griffith and did not seek the commissioner’s response or to verify the information.

It also said since Deyal was a national sporting figure he knew his words would “carry much weight and would have public resonance” and would cause more damage to the commissioner’s good name and reputation.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday