December 8, 2006

DPP appeals ruling in Graham Sedition case

Director of Public Prosecution Colin Williams has appealed the ruling in the Sedition case against Ordan Graham.

He is asking the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (ECCA) to overturn the judgment of Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman who dismissed the case November 30 saying that the words uttered by Graham at a public meeting were not seditious within the context in which they were used and to rule against Graham would be to strangle the doctrine of free speech.{{more}}

“In my view, the issues which arise from the Chief Magistrate’s decision are sufficiently serious to go before the Court of Appeal, so that it can pronounce upon the issues”, the DPP said in a news release.

He said that the definition of sedition under the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines differs from what constitutes the similar named offence in England.

He is asking the ECCA to consider five grounds of appeal: 1. Whether or not the issue of seditious intent is one for the jury and ought not to have been addressed at the stage of a submission of ‘no case to answer’ by the Accused/ Defendant; 2. Whether or not the Learned Chief Magistrate erred in holding that the prosecution has to prove intention either expressly or by inference; 3. Whether the law provides that publication of seditious words are sufficient to create an offence; 4. Whether on a charge of uttering seditious words the prosecution need to specify what the impact of the public is likely to be; and, 5. Whether or not the Learned Chief Magistrate erred in holding that if the words “blood would run in this country” were used to be seditious in the context in which they were used would strangle the doctrine of freedom of speech.

Graham uttered the words at a public meeting at Buccament on August 27, 2006.