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DPP blasts The News newspaper

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Colin Williams, Director of Public Prosecutions, and a shareholder of “The News” newspaper, has lambasted that newspaper for making “glaring inaccuracies” and for “completely misrepresent(ing) the facts”.{{more}}

“On previous occasions where there have been such errors, I dealt with the matter otherwise, for example by simply making a telephone call and pointing out the falsity. This time, however, I am placing on record my disgust with the way The News could so completely misrepresent the facts,” the irate Williams stated in a letter to Managing Director/Editor and major shareholder of The News Limited Shelley Clarke.

Williams is upset over an article entitled, “Six years and no justice yet in Lokesha’s murder”, carried on page 4 of The News in their Friday, June 6th, 2008, edition.

The DPP in the letter refuted The News newspaper’s report that the accused, Patrick Lovelace, had ever been represented by Ms Kay Bacchus-Browne.

“I am surprised that The News can get these little things so wrong, when a check in the archives would reveal that correct information was published with regard to these matters before,” said Williams.

He disclosed that Lovelace was arrested for the murder of Nanton in October 2003. His preliminary inquiry was completed in February 2004, and he was convicted in December 2004. According to Williams, the accused then appealed. The DPP noted that over the period Lovelace’s lawyers sought more than one adjournment at the Court of Appeal and in 2006 the Court of Appeal ordered a re-trial.

“The News states, without making any factual comparison whatsoever, that the accused ‘has spent more time on remand than Mark Williams who gunned down a nurse.’ This misrepresentation of the facts, to me, smacks of some sinister motive,” Williams outlined.

Williams explained that the defence in this matter have sought adjournments for one reason or another and this has resulted in the delay in the retrial of the accused. “This is conveniently ignored in the story,” he added.

The DPP stressed that, unfortunately, there are persons in custody on murder charges who have been there much longer than the accused in this matter (Ken Charles and Leonard O’Garro). He further stated there are persons who have spent a longer time on remand than Lovelace without having their day in court; at the same time, however, there are persons, too, who have had their trials in a shorter time (such as Earl Edwards who was convicted last Assizes).

“This really was a nothing story: except that by virtue of the misreporting, The News tried to create one. While I expect that kind of “writing from the top of the head” from certain columnists, reporters ought certainly to be more responsible, accurate, fair and balanced,” Williams chided, claiming “This was a case jaundiced, rancid reporting”.

The DPP concluded the letter by stating: “I note that others are often chided by the paper for not getting the little things right. But this time, even the little things The News got wrong; very wrong.”

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