DPP asks High Court to dismiss Magistrate Moore’s $50M defamation lawsuit against her

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L-R: DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack and Magistrate Alex Moore

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack has filed an application in the High Court asking that a defamation lawsuit seeing in excess of $50M in damages filed against her by Senior Magistrate Alex Moore, be dismissed.

The DPP argues that the case is an abuse of the court process, scandalous, frivolous, vexatious, and discloses no reasonable ground for bringing the claim.

Last month, Magistrate Moore through his lawyer, Arudranauth Gossai, filed a defamation claim as a result of a letter Ali-Hack had sent to the acting Chancellor of the Judiciary and the acting Chief Justice under the caption: “Re: Conduct of Magistrate Alex Moore in the charge of the Police vs Marcus Bisram for the offence of murder, Contrary to Common Law”.

In a Statement of Claim, the 42-year-old Magistrate said that letter sent to the Chancellor and Chief Justice suggested that he was not acting impartial in the matter, and was therefore unfit to sit as a magistrate in the murder charge brought by the State against Marcus Bisram which was being inquired into at the Whim Magistrates’ Courts.

The letter was penned on December 5, 2019 after the court’s substantive Magistrate Renita Singh went on leave, resulting in Magistrate Moore sitting at that court. Magistrate Moore, in court documents, noted that the contents of the letter have greatly injured his character, credibility and reputation. He further noted that it has subjected him to public ridicule, causing him to suffer metal anguish distress and depression.

However, the DPP on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 filed an application asking for an order striking out the whole Statement of Claim with costs awarded and such further or other reliefs the court deems just. Among other things, Ali-Hack argues that Magistrate Moore sued her in her personal capacity, instead of in her office as Director of Public Prosecutions.

According to the DPP, her report to the Chancellor, who is also Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission contained allegations of misconduct against Magistrate Moore, in his professional responsibility and not in his private capacity and were capable of being investigated by the Chancellor for the purposes of invoking the disciplinary procedures set out in the Judicial Service Commission Rules.

In addition, the DPP contends that Magistrate Moore’s case in contrary to public policy by seeking through defamatory claims to intimidate or prevent the process of complaints against the conduct of Magistrates, and particularly in relation to disciplinary considerations by members of the Judicial Service Commission of the actions of any member of the Magistracy, including him.

Magistrate Moore has been an attorney-at-law for 14 years. He has been a sitting Magistrate for nine years assigned to Georgetown, East Demerara, Berbice and Corentyne Magisterial districts. He was admitted to practice law in the courts of Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and The British Virgin Islands,

Representing the DPP are Senior Counsel Robin Stoby, former Solicitor General Kim Kyte-Thomas and lawyer Jamela Ali.