Another defamation lawsuit has been filed against Police Sergeant Dion Bascom over his accusations that Police ranks have accepted bribes and are “covering up” the murder of Ricardo Fagundes also called “Paper Shorts”.
In this accusation, Bascom had identified several persons including Superintendent Mitchell Caesar, Superintendent Chabinauth Singh, Mark Richmond, and businessman Azruddin Mohamed.
However, the claimant this time is 44-year-old Mark Richmond, who is attached to Mohamed’s Enterprise as a security detail. He has since claimed $50 million in damages for defamation.
In the lawsuit filed on his behalf by lawyers Naresh, Rajendra, and Sohan Poonai, Richmond said that on August 11, 12, 13, and 14, 2022, Sergeant Bascom broadcast on Facebook, several statements about him that were false, untrue, disingenuous, dangerous, malicious, irrational, unfair, unsubstantiated, and baseless.
This, he argued, has resulted in his reputation being tarnished and lowered and has caused him great embarrassment, psychological trauma, emotional distress, and public humiliation. Besides damages, the security officer wants an injunction to restrain the policeman from further uttering defamatory statements and an injunction compelling him to permanently remove the Facebook posts.
He is also asking the High Court to order interest at the rate of six per cent per annum from the date of the filing of the lawsuit and thereafter at a rate of four per cent per annum from the date of judgement until the entire sum awarded is paid, costs and such further or other order the court may deem just.
Richmond said he has no antecedents, an unblemished criminal record, has never been charged with any criminal offence, and is of reputable status, adding that he is a practicing devout Muslim and strives to uphold the tenets of Islam.
In court documents seen by this publication, Richmond pointed out that the social media platform is widely and freely accessible by members of the public and is used by a large section of society for social, news, and other purposes.
Despite sending Sergeant Bascom a written letter of demand on August 12 calling on him to retract the statements, apologise and pay compensation, he said that the following day, the cop, again, broadcast a live video on his Facebook page in which he made several offending utterances and statements about him.
Richmond said that Sergeant Bascom through his Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes, sent a written response on August 15 rejecting his demands and contended that the statements he made about him were justified and true.
He related that he was again defamed on August 19 at a press conference hosted by Sergeant Bascom and his lawyer, while pointing out that the utterances were understood to mean and suggest that he is associated with criminal activities.
These include: that he was at the scene of the shooting of Fagundes, that he shot him, was in contact with persons on the night of the shooting, that he threatened Sergeant Bascom, that he and others will kill or cause grievous bodily harm, conspired to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to an unnamed journalist and that he is guilty of murder and other serious criminal offences.
He further contends that Bascom’s statements were without merit, vile, deliberate, malicious, unfair, irrational, and intentional falsehoods that were intended to tarnish, besmirch, sully, and stain his reputation without justification.
He said that he has been repeatedly asked about the statements made by Sergeant Bascom and has been subjected to questions regarding the truthfulness of the statements, words, utterances, statements, and publication made.
To date, he argued that the offending Facebook post made on August 12, is still available for public viewing, and along with the other publications, has irreparably and severely damaged his business reputation.
In light of this, Richmond argued that he continues to suffer financial injury, constant emotional and psychological distress, humiliation, embarrassment, indignity, pain, and suffering and is pleading with the court to grant the reliefs he is seeking.
Businessman Azruddin Mohamed, who from the outset had distanced himself from the allegations, has since filed a $200 million defamation lawsuit against Sergeant Bascom.
The businessman, in his Statement of Claim, has argued that the words and statements uttered by Bascom are all untrue, false, dangerous, disingenuous, malicious, irrational, unfair, unsubstantiated, unfounded, and baseless, thereby tarnishing and lowering his reputation.
Superintendent Caesar, through his lawyer, had threatened to take legal action against Sergeant Bascom if he did not remove the posts and offered him an apology and $50 million compensation.
In an invited comment, business tycoon, Nazar Mohamed, owner of Mohamed’s Enterprise, said that while he is saddened by Fagundes’s murder, he would not allow innocent persons to be implicated in something they have absolutely no involvement in.
“I will not allow Mark Richmond to be no fall guy for anyone. I have solid proof that he has no involvement and l will make it available at the appropriate time.” He further stated that Bascom’s allegations were riddled with lies and totally unsubstantiated after he found himself in a very awkward situation. “He was vulnerable and was used,” the businessman stated.