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Legal battle on

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Ring the bell! The case is not before a magistrate, but lawyers for Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Canadian Attorney Margaret Parsons are battling hard.{{more}}

Since Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Colin Williams stepped in discontinued the private criminal case of sexual assault, in which Parsons alleges that she was assaulted by Dr Gonsalves in January of 2003, things have been relatively quiet.

But when Parsons did a radio interview with radio host Junior Bacchus last week, which was broadcast on two radio stations, an avalanche of legal jostling began.

First lawyer Grahame Bollers wrote Douglas DeFreitas of NICE radio on behalf of Dr Gonsalves, demanding among other things, an apology, and half a million dollars for what he termed to be defamatory utterances made by Parsons in the interview.

De Freitas has laughed off the demand and the accompanying threat of a lawsuit.

In a 12-point letter to the media, another of Dr Gonsalves’ attorneys, Richard Williams, accused Parsons of speaking falsehoods, maliciously, “with intent to damage the character or reputation” of the Prime Minister.

Parsons claims that her meeting with Dr Gonsalves five years ago was to discuss constitutional reform matters, but according to Williams, she was seeking the Prime Minister’s assistance to purchase a property that was being sold by a state-owned financial institution.

Williams also questioned Parsons’ five-year delay in reporting the alleged incident and wondered why she first said in a sworn statement that the incident occurred in 2004, and then changed the date to 2003.

He also questioned why after making a notarized statement on February 21st, 2008 that Parsons left for Canada and didn’t go to be interviewed by the police.

In his letter, Williams also suggests, among a host of other things, that persons whom Parsons alleges that she complained to about Dr Gonsalves, deny her claim that she spoke to them.

Kay Bacchus, who represents Parsons, has fired right back.

A letter warning the media about publishing the contents of Williams’ letter, which Bacchus considers slanderous against Parsons, was followed by a direct response to Williams’ letter.

Bacchus says that Parsons “vehemently and forthrightly alleges that she was sexually assaulted by the Prime Minister in January 2003.”

Bacchus also said that Parsons has at all times promptly responded to queries from the DPP and the police, and even requested a meeting with both parties “to provide an opportunity to conduct a more wholesome and thorough investigation.”

Bacchus was also suspicious as to why the persons who Williams suggests denied that Parsons spoke to them about the alleged incident are from overseas, and no mention is made of two persons who reside in St Vincent and the Grenadines, who Bacchus says corroborate Parson’s complaint. (KJ)

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