Wavel Ramkalawan withdraws defamation plaint against Raoul Rene Payet |09 October 2020
The defamation case between Linyon Demokratik Seselwa’s Presidential candidate Wavel Ramkalawan against Raoul Rene Payet is no more.
The first hearing in the matter which was scheduled throughout the whole of yesterday before the Supreme Court was cut short when Counsel representing Mr Ramkalawan, Anthony Derjacques, informed presiding Judge Justice M Burhan that his client has forgiven Mr Payet for the defamatory statements made against him, which led him to file the plaint for defamation in March 2018.
According to Mr Derjacques, Mr Payet had on Facebook promoted and posted three articles on Assomption Island, in which he stated that the executive under President Michel had accepted USD 45 million, and Mr Ramkalawan as the leader of the opposition $150,000 to sell Assomption for a military base, to the government of India.
Of course, Mr Ramkalawan denied the claims, publicly stating that even if President Michel had signed the agreement as the executive, if it was brought for ratification in the National Assembly, he as leader would never have allowed Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) to ratify it.
“It was never brought to the assembly and Mr Ramkalawan has never taken the money, and I don’t believe the government even took the money. So, Mr Ramkalawan filed this action but today, because he is promoting and he understands, and he is fully involved in promoting reconciliation, for example, he was behind the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC), and as a presidential candidate, he wants to promote peace and accord between members of the public and therefore he has told me, and I informed the judge that he has forgiven Mr Payet and for that reason he asked me to withdraw the case and not to proceed,” Mr Derjacques noted.
While most defendants would be satisfied with the outcome and deem it favourable, legal representative for Mr Payet, Frank Elizabeth, who on court record accepted the forgiveness by saying “My Lord I am grateful and I accept the magnanimous offer and forgiveness of Mr Ramkalawan for my client”, said he is dubious of the decision and is doubtful that that was indeed the plaintiff’s intention.
“What has happened really, Mr Ramkalawan filed the case against Mr Raoul Payet and the case has already been fixed once for a full-day hearing and he did not turn up. He was warned that unless he turned up today, the case would be dismissed, obviously he didn’t turn up today and his lawyer knew the case was going to be dismissed, so he came up with this magnanimous act of forgiveness which I am dubious about. I take it with a pinch of salt.”
“It is true that I said in court that I and my client accept forgiveness for the record in court but I can say it now, my client does not accept the forgiveness, because you can only be forgiven if you’ve done something wrong. My client in his defence is adamant that he has done nothing wrong but exercise his Constitutional right on freedom of expression, as a citizen of Seychelles, so it is not ‘correct’ to say that my client was grateful for the magnanimous act of forgiveness from the leader of the opposition,” Mr Elizabeth concluded.