COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
SUIT NO. 37 OF 1996
STEPHANIE ANNA JAMES
LENNARD PETER MOISE
Ms. Dawn Yearwood of Counsel for the Claimant
Ms. Ronan A. David of Counsel for the Defendant
21st November, 2001.
DECISION: 4th December, 2001.
 CHONG J:, Ag. The issues to be decided in this case are as follows:-
(1) That the defendant at a certain place and in the presence of certain
persons, did use the words to wit:” The only reason why your father left
you that portion of land was because he was your man.”
(2) Whether the said words, if said were capable of conveying a defamatory
meaning and further that the said words were meant and understood to
(3) (a) that the Claimant had a romantic relationship with her father;
(4) that the Claimant had committed incest;
(5) that the Claimant had been unchaste or had committed adultery.
The significance of (b) and (c) above were to permit the Claimant’s clam to fall
within the exception, wherein an action of slander will lie within proof of special
 Issue No. 1 is purely a question of fact and based on the evidence I find as a fact
that the Defendant at Petite Savanne in the presence of at least six persons did
use the following words namely: “The only reason why our father left you the
portion of land was because he was your man
 This conclusion is fortified by the fact that when the Defendant was asked by the
Claimant on two occasions if that is what he said, he said nothing and walked
 Having found that the words complained of were in fact said, the second final
issue to be decided is whether as a matter of law, the words complained of are
capable of conveying a defamatory meaning and in so doing lowered the
Claimant in the estimation of ordinary right thinking persons in the community of
 In finding the legal answer to this issue, it is instructive to point out that the
Defendant’s Defence was not that the words complained of did not or could not
have the meaning ascribed to them by the Claimant, but that the Defendant did not
use the words complained of, but used other wards namely: “It seems that when
our father bought the land, you were with him.” and in his evidence in chief, “It
seems you were there when he was sharing the land.” Clearly, it is the opinion of
the court that Defendant’s Defence is somewhat tantamount common to an
admission that the words complained of were capable of conveying defamatory
 That aside and bearing in mind the local idiosyncrasy of Caribbean society such
as Petite Savanne the words used by the Defendant and in particular the words,
“Your man.” Given the context in which said words were uttered could only have
conveyed the meaning ascribed to them by the Claimant that she had a romantic
relationship with her father which was not of a desirable nature and unchaste.
The Claimant has therefore satisfied the onus placed on her and has in the opinion
of the Court prove that the words used by the Defendant were defamatory of the
Claimant and lowered her in the estimation of the Ordinary right thinking persons
of the village of Petite Savanne, and I so find.
 By finding, as a matter of fact and law that the Claimant has proved her case of
slander against the Defendant, there are two further issues that require the Court’s
i. the damage to be awarded and
ii whether there is need for an injunction.
 Guided by the authorities submitted in the Court by Counsel for the Claimant, the
Court is of the view based on the 1999, Dominican case of G.O.N. Emanuel and
Theodoris Lawrence that an award of $3,000.00 in this case would not only be
sufficient but adequate compensation for the injury suffered by the Claimant at the
mouth of the Defendant.
 With regards to the issue of an injunction, the Claimant has not led any evidence
to convince the Court that there is any reason to apprehend further repetition of
the publication of the slander and for this reason I find no grounds for granting
 In conclusion therefore my order is as follows:
1. Judgement for the Claimant in the sum of $3,000.00.
2. Injunction refused
3. Costs to be agreed or otherwise taxed.
JUSTICE TYRONE CHONG
HIGH COURT JUDGE