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Lynch guilty

Lynch guilty

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Elwardo Lynch has been found guilty and is appealing the $3,000 fine imposed on him last Tuesday.

Defense lawyer Dr. Linton Lewis gave notice of intention to appeal after Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman imposed the penalty. Lynch had been charged with publishing a false statement that is likely to cause alarm.{{more}}

The charges brought against him stemmed from a political meeting at Sion Hill March 4, 2005, where Lynch claimed that “tapping of telephones in St. Vincent is a reality, and that “this government brought in a vehicle here (G580), it has all sort of electronic gadgets inside it. It is even being used to jam radio frequency. For example, if they don’t want you to listen to my programme, they could jam it out.”

Dr. Lewis, supported by Northern Grenadines’ parliamentarian Dr. Godwin Friday, appeared on Lynch’s behalf.

Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman delivered her ruling last Tuesday to a tense court room located in the Lyric Building, Kingstown. There was an overwhelming police presence in the court room of officers dressed in different outfits. Some, representing the newly formed Rapid Response Unit wore black, with others in the camouflaged uniforms of the Special Services Unit and others in ordinary black and white outfits.

Chief Magistrate Churaman’s ruling appeared pointed as she went on, and Lynch, standing in the dock in grey pants, striped coloured long sleeved shirt, and brown shoes, appeared relaxed in the early part of the day’s proceedings. But he grew seemingly nervous as the magistrate read her verdict. By the time the guilty verdict was announced, the 58-year-old radio personality declined in composure and seemed to quiver.

But he watched and listened as Dr. Lewis made a plea of mitigation on his behalf.

The defense attorney admitted that laws must be passed before telephones could be tapped here and praised Lynch for his hosting of a number of activities.

Dr. Lewis said that Lynch’s role was critical in assessing “government’s stewardship.” He noted that at times, “statements would engender public discussion” and that Lynch’s role was a “worthy one”.

The lawyer posited that Lynch was speaking without prepared text and that there was a need to “generate enthusiasm.”

Dr. Lewis stated that “statements are made that could attract people’s attention, that could also be false.”

Lynch’s programme is to by some 83 per cent of the nation’s population, according to Dr Lewis, and therefore Lynch was “highly respected,” and had “national acclaim,” since he was “educating and informing Vincentians.”

Dr. Lewis said Lynch’s wide audience “demonstrate[d] the importance of the contribution he is making.”

He said that, “few of us have been able to make that sort of acclaim.”

Dr. Lewis recently declared as candidate for the New Democratic Party for East St. George, told the court that Lynch had been rehabilitated, and he was “preventing others from getting into trouble.”

The defense attorney called for a “non-custodial sentence.”

The Chief Magistrate pointed out that the penalty was a maximum one-year prison term, and that no provision had been made for a fine.

She however fined Lynch $1500 on each count and after Dr. Lewis asked for some time to pay, she gave 28 days. The money must be paid by June 21 or the 58-year-old could spend five months in jail.

However, the judicial battle goes on with the appeal marking the next chapter of the saga.

A gathering mounted outside the precincts of the court, but they were not as numerous nor as vocal as the previous sitting when judgement was reserved. There was also a strong police presence outside though this did not prevent a few verbal clashes between apparent supporters of the talk show host, and members of the constabulary.