Online gossip will put people in court, says Bar president
President of the Barbados Bar Association, Liesel Weekes, is of the view that using digital and online platforms to share salacious or defamatory content about others will lead to many lawsuits in the future.
The attorney-at-law spoke to the media following the official launch of the Bar Association’s weekend law conference, where she said the Computer Misuse Act will be a central focus of the topics to be discussed at the conference slated for June 2 - 4.
Drawing reference from a court case in Trinidad involving former cricketer Lendl Simmons and Theresa Ho where he was forced to pay a huge sum to her after he circulated nude photos of her, Weekes said the court often favours the claimant in a situation where sensitive information is leaked about him or her.
“In relationships the courts seem to be suggesting there is a certain level of trust that exists and one should not disseminate information that would’ve been shared with you while in that relationship. It is a breach of trust for which you can file an action.”
She went onto to say although the Simmons vs Ho case was widely publicised she has not seen many people in Barbados who may have been in similar situations choosing to pursue legal action for “one reason or the other”.
However, Weekes did say she has many inquiries from persons who may have been defamed online on gossip sites and she believes this may be the cause of “much litigation going forward”.
“I know that there are lot of inquiries but a lot of people have not filed actions. We all know of the website Naked Departure; I have fielded several inquiries in relation to the content on that particular site and yes, a lot of it is defamatory and yes, a lot of it is salacious and a lot of it is actionable.”
She also said there have been two cases of which she is aware that went to the High Court based on defamatory content published online. She added the time it takes to resolve such cases may be a deterrent to people choosing to file action with the court but she said depending on the circumstances and the resources available, these matters can be settled quickly.