Thursday 25 April, 2019

Women's rights activist ordered to pay $16m in pastor defamation case

Former Moravian minister Dr Canute Thompson had filed the suit after Latoya Nugent (pictured) made several posts on social media site, Facebook in December 2016 against him and other Moravian ministers.

Former Moravian minister Dr Canute Thompson had filed the suit after Latoya Nugent (pictured) made several posts on social media site, Facebook in December 2016 against him and other Moravian ministers.

The co-founder of advocacy group, Tambourine Army will have to fork out $16 million to settle a defamation suit brought against her by former Moravian Minister, Dr Canute Thompson.

In handing down the award on Thursday, the Supreme Court also ordered Latoya Nugent to pay Thompson’s legal costs.

The court had entered a default judgment against Nugent after she failed to respond to, or file a defence against, the claim filed by Thompson in 2017.

Thompson had filed the suit after Nugent made several posts on social media site, Facebook in December 2016 against him.

Nugent, who is described as a gender activist, was arrested and charged in March 2017 under the Cybercrimes Act. The St Andrew resident was charged with three counts of using a computer for malicious communication under section 9 (1) of the Act.

It was alleged that Nugent published information on social media, suggesting that certain individuals were sexual predators.

She was facing up to four years in prison but in May 2017, the matter was discontinued in the Kingston and St Andrew parish court by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn.

According to the DPP, after reviewing the material on all three counts, there was not enough to make it a viable prosecution. Llewelyn said the charges were not viable because each count could not satisfy all the ingredients under the relevant section of the Cybercrimes Act.

At the time of discontinuing the case, Llewelyn had encouraged the three complainants, including Thompson, to seek civil remedies.

She was arrested and charged after formal complaints were made to the police by some of the individuals.

Nugent fell sick while in lock-up at the Duhaney Park Police Station and had to be taken for treatment.

She was among a group of women who descended on the Nazareth Moravian Church in Manchester in January 2017 to protest child sexual abuse after Moravian Minister Rupert Clarke was charged with having sex with a minor.

Apart from Clarke, who was last November sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of having sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 years old, then president of the Moravian Church, Paul Gardner, was also charged with carnal abuse.

The Tambourine Army describes itself as a radical social justice movement committed to uprooting the scourge of sexual violence and safeguarding the rights of women and girls.

 

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