Fri 1st Dec 2006
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Green Party and its General Secretary, Ordan Graham, scored a landmark victory, when Graham, who was accused of using seditious words at a public forum, walked away free.
The charge against Graham was dismissed at the Serious Offences Court after Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman upheld a no case submission from Graham's Attorney Emery Robertson.
Magistrate Churaman concluded, 'To rule that the words blood would run in this country in the context in which it was used constitutes sedition, it would in the court's opinion be to strangle the doctrine of free speech.'
Graham, a 51-year-old businessman of Fairbain Pasture, was alleged to have stated during a public forum at Buccament on August 27: 'Ralph Gonsalves feels he is the only man with savvy in this country. We have to reverse this trend. If we do not reverse this trend in this country, you know what would happen here? Blood would run on the streets of this country'. The meeting was facilitated by the Friends of the Tobago Cays in solidarity with the Buccament farmers.
The matter, which was adjourned on two occasions, started at the Serious Offences Court last week Monday. The court heard evidence from acting Assistant Superintendent of Police Wilisford Caesar, who had made out an arrest warrant in Graham's name, following investigations. The other witness to give evidence was Sergeant Junior Simmonds who had handed over to Caesar, the transcript and audio tape of Graham's address to the meeting.
When the prosecution rested its case, attorney Robertson submitted that his client had no case to answer. Magistrate Churaman then adjourned the matter until last week Thursday to give her ruling.