The case between the Deputy Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega and the PUP’s Standard Bearer for Orange Walk North, Ramon Cervantes Jr., has been further delayed after the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin adjourned the matter until September 18, 2015. In today’s hearing there was an application from Vega’s attorney, Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams that sought to bring in a new witness. Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay who represents Fiesta FM, explained the matter surrounding the witness, Kelly Guzman, whose presence on the witness stand was denied as well as the grounds for his objection.
“What they attempted to do this morning was to call a witness who did a translation of the recording and that witness. The law says that a witness has to give his or her statement in this particular case from the 27th of March, this witness did not; so on the day of trial they attempted to get the witness to then give a statement and we objected. We objected firstly because they failed to comply with the rules, secondly we objected because the CD that is in evidence is a recording from Love FM and not from Fiesta and we submitted to the court that a translation from a Love FM recording is irrelevant in a case against Fiesta. Happily the Chief Justice Agreed with us and refused Mr. Vega to call Kelly Guzman who did the translation.”
While the case has seen several sessions inside the Chief Justice’s courtroom, the recording that is alleged to be libelous has not been played inside the courts. According to Courtenay, he understands that the recording will not be played.
“It is our position that the claimant will not be allowed to play the recording in court. Mr. Williams said that he is going to make such an application; I would only describe it as a novel application and we look forward to seeing the law that would support that. I’m not sure where he is going to find it.”
“Do you think that any of the recordings will eventually be admitted into evidence?”
“I don’t see why any should because first of all there is no recording and the claimant admitted this in his evidence he admitted that he does not have any evidence against Fiesta. I believe where we are is, the court will hear an application by Mr. Williams who, somehow, he is under the impression that he will be able to satisfy the court to be able to play the Love FM tape. Of course that is entirely, as my friend says, a novel proposition but we will wait and see.”
Senior Counsels, Courtenay and Musa, told the media that they are positive at how the case is going while citing reasons for that optimism.
“Well I think that the evidence that so far has come that has been confirmed by one of the witnesses for the claimant; we maintain that position, we will be calling our witnesses to establish that and so far there is only one more witness for the claimant, no one has put in evidence a recording from Fiesta.”
“I think it has been going extremely well, the fundamentals of this case is the allegation that my client published or republished a libelous article against Minister Vega and I am yet to hear any evidence of that and as far as I am aware the case for the claimant is about to conclude and we are still waiting for that kind of evidence because there is none, there will be none. Clearly they won’t be able to prove any broadcast by Fiesta. They are only relying on a tape from Love Fm which is not really evidence it is totally irrelevant to this case. So I would think, speaking personally of course we don’t want to prejudge anything but Fiesta as far as I am concerned is definitely in the clear and my client is at this point in time I am comfortable with the way the case.”
The media tried to get a comment from the Deputy Prime Minister but as you will see, he declined. His attorney, however, Senior Counsel Williams did speak regarding the recording and it being handed in as evidence which Courtenay and Musa have referred to as a novelty idea in the court.
“They may seek to challenge it but that is how the process goes but my point is it is in evidence and it now needs to be translated because the language of the court is English and that recording is in the Spanish language. There is a Spanish transcription of the recorded conversation and an English translation of that Spanish transcription already in evidence just that it is our version but it is in evidence and there is no other version.”
This matter arose following the death of Ramon Cervantes Senior’s death and allegations against Vega that were made publicly thus leading Vega to file a suit against Cervantes for libel and defamation. The case has been adjourned until September 18, 2015.