Bradley Roberts Warns Media on Rape Claim
By Candia Dames
Jan 04, 2005
In a new twist to a growing media storm over a rape allegation made against him, Minister of Works and Utilities Bradley Roberts yesterday warned local media organizations that he will sue them for any further reports on the matter and he suggested that they run apologies.
Meanwhile, police were set to send the file relating to this investigation to the Attorney General’s Office this morning.
Minister Roberts’s warning came as coverage of the rape claim spread in the international press with the Jamaica Observer reporting that a 47-year-old woman has accused Minister Roberts of raping her in her Nassau home on December 4.
In a recent interview with the Bahama Journal, Minister Roberts said that he knows the woman in question.
Last week, other papers, including some in Scotland and the Florida Sun Sentinel also picked up the story.
But Minister Roberts’s warning was directed squarely at the local press, and addressed more specifically to the publishers and general managers of all broadcast and print outlets.
“I hereby put you on notice that any further linking of my name to any allegation of rape – except for the purpose of withdrawing or repudiating the same – will result in an action against you and your media organization for damages for defamation,” Minister Roberts said in a statement.
The warning not to report his name in relation to the rape claim amounted to a curious and ridiculous turn of events given that last week Minister Roberts contacted the media, inviting coverage when he released a statement informing that he had voluntarily gone to the police to answer questions in relation to the allegation.
He was also asked at the time to respond to calls made by the Free National Movement for his resignation, but said Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Raynard Rigby will release a statement to address that matter.
The PLP again invited coverage of the rape claim when Mr. Rigby released a statement saying that the party had been convinced of Minister Roberts’s innocence.
Asked last night how he could threaten to sue when he invited this kind of coverage only a week ago, Minister Roberts said that he has been advised not to make any further statements in relation to this matter.
The letter sent to the press last night was copied to his attorneys, Paul L. Adderley, Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, and Sean McWeeney.
However, when contacted last night Mr. Adderley denied that he is representing the Minister in this matter.
Minister Roberts said the rape allegation is “completely and utterly false and for you to publicize the same is without any legal justification or excuse. In this regard, you seem to be unaware that to publish the fact that someone has made [an] allegation of rape against an identifiable person is as defamatory as the original allegation if the allegation is untrue as it most certainly is in relation to me.
“The fact that you may only be reporting that such an allegation has been made gives you no legal protection whatsoever. If you doubt the correctness of this you would be well advised to consult your own attorneys.”
Minister Roberts continued, “To the extent that you have already defamed me in any previous reference to the allegation of rape, it should be clearly understood that all my rights against you and your organization are reserved in full. You may wish, of course, to mitigate your position by publishing an appropriate retraction and apology.
“Alternatively, you may wish to increase your ultimate exposure to me by ignoring this opportunity to make partial amends for the injury you have already inflicted upon me. The choice is yours.
“In the meantime I have instructed my attorney to put themselves in a state of immediate readiness to deal with this matter. I have no intention of allowing anyone else to assassinate my reputation and character by giving currency to allegations and rumors that are completely devoid of any foundation in fact.”