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Woman brings defamation charges against sister

Woman brings defamation charges against sister

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Catisha Pierre has pleaded guilty to four counts of defamation under the CyberCrime Act and now awaits sentencing on Friday.

Pierre, of Lower Questelles, was charged with four counts of libel, using electronic communication, before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The charges stem from Facebook posts made by Catisha Pierre on January 30, 2018 against her sister Crystal Pierre, which allege that Crystal wishes to put their mother on the street and sell their mother’s land, using stolen documents. She also alleged on the social media website that Crystal had tried to kill their mother, by poisoning her food.

Catisha was subsequently given station bail, being charged before senior magistrate Rickie Burnett yesterday. Under the Cybercrime Act of 2016, s19(1) dealing with libel by electronic communication, “A person who uses a computer system to unlawfully publish any defamatory matter concerning another person, with intent to defame that other person, commits an offence.”

The senior magistrate has reserved his sentencing for February 16. There is little case guidance in sentencing for these matters, as the CyberCrime Act is relatively new, being implemented in 2016.

However, within the Act, anyone charged with an offence under s19(2), will be liable to a fine of up to $50,000 or to imprisonment for two years or both, upon summary conviction (before a magistrate as both judge of fact and law).

[CORRECTIONS – February 15, 2018, 12:54 pm: An earlier version of this story (1) cited the Cybercrime Bill, instead of the Cybercrime Act; (2) the earlier version said that Pierre was charged under s16(2), however, she was charged under s19(1), the sections having been changed in the final version of the Bill; (3) Under s19(2) the maximum punishment is a fine of $50,000 and not $100,000 as was previously published. In preparing this story, SEARCHLIGHT had inadvertently referred to an earlier version of the Cybercrime Bill and not the final version that was passed into Law.]

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