Today the case filed by Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega against P.U.P Orange Walk North Standard Bearer Ramon Monchie Cervantes Junior began Judicial process today at the Belize City Supreme Court. As you might recall the Deputy Prime Minister is suing Cervantes Junior for defamation of character after the Cervantes family released a recording of a phone call allegedly made to them by Manuel Castillo the man believed to be the mastermind behind the murder of Ramon Cervantes Senior who was kidnapped on July 2nd and murdered the following day.
During the conversation the man purporting to be Castillo, claimed that Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega was involved in the murder of Cervantes. The DPM refuted those allegations and right after preceded with the lawsuit against Cervantes Junior after his request for a full and unequivocal public retraction was not met by Cervantes Junior. After the case management was held before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin Cervantes Junior and his attorney, Senior Counsel Said Musa, spoke to the press.
Ramon Cervantes Jr., Accused of Libel
“Well it’s the beginning of the judicial process. We are disputing the case and we are just awaiting to see how the law takes its course.”
Said Musa, Attorney for Ramon Cervantes Jr.
“The court made what they call case management orders for disclosure by all the parties and for witness statements to be filed on both sides, actually in three sides because there is a third party involved as well…a radio station noh. And a pre-trial review will be held down the road sometime in April, I believe.”
“Sir, for those of us who have no understanding what a libel is and how it works, how does one defend against this to make a legitimate case? That you know what, I said something and you might think it is disparaging, but it is actually not.”
“Well that is certainly one ground of defence to say that what was said or what is alleged to have been said is not libellous, not defamatory. A second ground could be that what was said is true; that is a full defence. And there are several other defences such as what is called qualified privilege and absolute privilege. So there are several defences to libel. There is also the fact of is it libel or is it slander which is another issue as well. But we are not going to go into that at this time right; we will do that in the courts.”
A pre-trial review is scheduled for April of 2015 but no date has been set for the trial of the lawsuit. Viewers might recall that the body of Ramon Cervantes Sr. was found on July 5th 2014 buried in a shallow grave on farm located on the Honey Camp Road.