Categorized | Court, Featured, Legal, Local, News

Marijuana Discussion Denied

Freedom of Expression sought and denied, but full-scale forum discussion follows

Claude Gerald

It was only a few months ago when a social commentator lost his case, and yet again, in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme and Appeal Courts when he challenged for being disallowed to exercise his freedom of speech in presenting on the medical uses of marijuana.

Claude Gerald was speaking on the Warren Cassell show when he assured he was in fact not addressing the illegality of the use of marijuana, but merely highlighting a study which spoke to the medical benefits of the plant.

Management of the radio station ZJB Radio Montserrat cut the program at the beginning, while on another occasion had refused him the privilege to speak on another health promotion topic, the benefits of coconut oil and aloe vera.

Gerald provides an account captioned: “Another Defeat for Social Activist Claude Gerald”

Claude Gerald lost his second outing in a civil court on Montserrat as his lawyer, Dr. David Dorsett did not convince the three-man Appeal Court Judges of their case.

Gerald, a proven campaigner for human rights and the right to hold and air an opinion, won a land mark case in the appeal court when he sued the Governor of Montserrat and others, for removing him from his position as Director of Agriculture and placing him on a desk at the Ministry of Finance in 2004. 

This time he sued the management of the local radio station, ZJB and the Attorney General’s Office, following his immediate removal as a guest commentator on a program hosted by Warren Cassell, a feature facilitator on radio.

Gerald an agricultural economist and natural health promoter, extolled the highly touted virtues and attributes of Canabbis Sativa, marijuana, claiming its benefits are superior for the health of a population fitting ‘hand in glove’ with human body needs.

He relied on the Montserrat Constitution, Sections 2 and 13, which afforded a right to freedom of expression. This principle is recognized by courts in the Commonwealth and the Privy Council. It is especially so when it comes to conveying ideas that are contrary to the established order, including the established legal order.

Mr. Gerald argued that his right to freedom of expression was infringed by the ‘in mid-air’ removal from the mid-morning live broadcast, less than 2 minutes into being heard.

ZJB management through the Attorney General’s Office argued that ‘the discussion on marijuana, 29th January 2014, was stopped because it would have appeared that Radio Montserrat, a Government owned radio station was supporting or promoting the use of marijuana, a substance which is illegal on Montserrat.’ Its actions were defended on the grounds of public order.

The following week the Activist was again interrupted when he began to speak on the benefits of coconut oil and aloe aloe vera, food items that alternate health promoters revere. This time it was argued that no permission was rendered for Mr. Gerald’s return to the air waves.

The appeal judges on Tuesday, recessed for two hours and gave an oral judgement to seal a much anticipated outcome.

There is a kind of irony in this case as the day the appeal was heard in Montserrat TMR’s Facebook page carried a news item two days before about a consultation on Marijuana use which would have been taking place the same day. We commented. “On the same day there may be heard in the Appeal Court a move by the Attorney General’s office to throw out an appeal in the matter where the discussion on medical benefits of marijuana, or maybe more appropriately a presentation on ZJB was halted by the management. This was challenged in the Court and the judge ruled in favour of the Radio Station and that was appealed. The discussion needs to take place.”

One week later there was information announcing a town hall consultation surrounding the use of marijuana in Montserrat.

Gerald did not mention his surprise at the Appeal Court’s decision to dismiss his appeal upholding Judge Redhead’s decision that the Radio station’s management had every right to stop any discussion on the illegality of the use of marijuana.

Gerald has not confirmed that he will take this matter further, as he is known not to back down on his conviction and of course waits for the advice of his counsel.

He had challenged on his constitutional rights being denied as per: Section 13(1) of the Montserrat Constitution. “13. (1) Except with his or her consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of expression, and for the purposes of this section the said freedom includes freedom to hold opinions and freedom to receive and impart ideas and information without interference, and freedom from interference with his or her correspondence and other means of communication.”

The court ruled in favour of the management in appears on “ensuring the proper performance of their functions,” on the following: “(2) Nothing in any law or done under its authority shall be held to contravene this section to the extent that it is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society—

  • in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;

It is of serious note that following the discussions that took place as mentioned above, the ‘decriminalisation of marijuana use was discussed or received mention and explanation in the Legislative Assembly, yesterday. (see story “Montserrat promotes the marijuana discussion”}

ZJB Radio who had pulled the matter of its medical use on the station, in carrying the Legass discussion and excerpts from the CARICOM led discussion also carried an economist view point on the decriminalisation.

Indeed, the East Caribbean Court Supreme Court may well get a lesson on what was reasonably justifiable in all the circumstances today surrounding. Surely it ought not be possible to prevent anyone the freedom to express his or her disagreement with anything that is deemed illegal in a friendly and orderly manner. Was that even the issue in this case? The matter of creating disorder, that is!

TMR asks the question now, will Gerald be refunded his expenses in taking issue forward to protect the right taken away earlier. Perhaps it will take the Opposition to lead on this.

 

Leave a Reply

Newsletter

The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

https://indd.adobe.com/view/fefbe432-457e-4ac8-8976-c4a380014263

Archives

Freedom of Expression sought and denied, but full-scale forum discussion follows

Claude Gerald

It was only a few months ago when a social commentator lost his case, and yet again, in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme and Appeal Courts when he challenged for being disallowed to exercise his freedom of speech in presenting on the medical uses of marijuana.

Insert Ads Here

Claude Gerald was speaking on the Warren Cassell show when he assured he was in fact not addressing the illegality of the use of marijuana, but merely highlighting a study which spoke to the medical benefits of the plant.

Management of the radio station ZJB Radio Montserrat cut the program at the beginning, while on another occasion had refused him the privilege to speak on another health promotion topic, the benefits of coconut oil and aloe vera.

Gerald provides an account captioned: “Another Defeat for Social Activist Claude Gerald”

Claude Gerald lost his second outing in a civil court on Montserrat as his lawyer, Dr. David Dorsett did not convince the three-man Appeal Court Judges of their case.

Gerald, a proven campaigner for human rights and the right to hold and air an opinion, won a land mark case in the appeal court when he sued the Governor of Montserrat and others, for removing him from his position as Director of Agriculture and placing him on a desk at the Ministry of Finance in 2004. 

This time he sued the management of the local radio station, ZJB and the Attorney General’s Office, following his immediate removal as a guest commentator on a program hosted by Warren Cassell, a feature facilitator on radio.

Gerald an agricultural economist and natural health promoter, extolled the highly touted virtues and attributes of Canabbis Sativa, marijuana, claiming its benefits are superior for the health of a population fitting ‘hand in glove’ with human body needs.

He relied on the Montserrat Constitution, Sections 2 and 13, which afforded a right to freedom of expression. This principle is recognized by courts in the Commonwealth and the Privy Council. It is especially so when it comes to conveying ideas that are contrary to the established order, including the established legal order.

Mr. Gerald argued that his right to freedom of expression was infringed by the ‘in mid-air’ removal from the mid-morning live broadcast, less than 2 minutes into being heard.

ZJB management through the Attorney General’s Office argued that ‘the discussion on marijuana, 29th January 2014, was stopped because it would have appeared that Radio Montserrat, a Government owned radio station was supporting or promoting the use of marijuana, a substance which is illegal on Montserrat.’ Its actions were defended on the grounds of public order.

The following week the Activist was again interrupted when he began to speak on the benefits of coconut oil and aloe aloe vera, food items that alternate health promoters revere. This time it was argued that no permission was rendered for Mr. Gerald’s return to the air waves.

The appeal judges on Tuesday, recessed for two hours and gave an oral judgement to seal a much anticipated outcome.

There is a kind of irony in this case as the day the appeal was heard in Montserrat TMR’s Facebook page carried a news item two days before about a consultation on Marijuana use which would have been taking place the same day. We commented. “On the same day there may be heard in the Appeal Court a move by the Attorney General’s office to throw out an appeal in the matter where the discussion on medical benefits of marijuana, or maybe more appropriately a presentation on ZJB was halted by the management. This was challenged in the Court and the judge ruled in favour of the Radio Station and that was appealed. The discussion needs to take place.”

One week later there was information announcing a town hall consultation surrounding the use of marijuana in Montserrat.

Gerald did not mention his surprise at the Appeal Court’s decision to dismiss his appeal upholding Judge Redhead’s decision that the Radio station’s management had every right to stop any discussion on the illegality of the use of marijuana.

Gerald has not confirmed that he will take this matter further, as he is known not to back down on his conviction and of course waits for the advice of his counsel.

He had challenged on his constitutional rights being denied as per: Section 13(1) of the Montserrat Constitution. “13. (1) Except with his or her consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of expression, and for the purposes of this section the said freedom includes freedom to hold opinions and freedom to receive and impart ideas and information without interference, and freedom from interference with his or her correspondence and other means of communication.”

The court ruled in favour of the management in appears on “ensuring the proper performance of their functions,” on the following: “(2) Nothing in any law or done under its authority shall be held to contravene this section to the extent that it is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society—

It is of serious note that following the discussions that took place as mentioned above, the ‘decriminalisation of marijuana use was discussed or received mention and explanation in the Legislative Assembly, yesterday. (see story “Montserrat promotes the marijuana discussion”}

ZJB Radio who had pulled the matter of its medical use on the station, in carrying the Legass discussion and excerpts from the CARICOM led discussion also carried an economist view point on the decriminalisation.

Indeed, the East Caribbean Court Supreme Court may well get a lesson on what was reasonably justifiable in all the circumstances today surrounding. Surely it ought not be possible to prevent anyone the freedom to express his or her disagreement with anything that is deemed illegal in a friendly and orderly manner. Was that even the issue in this case? The matter of creating disorder, that is!

TMR asks the question now, will Gerald be refunded his expenses in taking issue forward to protect the right taken away earlier. Perhaps it will take the Opposition to lead on this.