Friday, September 18, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: The man accused of spreading libel and slander against his political rival, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega of Orange Walk North, Ramon Cervantes, Jr., told his side of the story in court today.
But contrary to popular belief, “Monchi” says that apart from twice listening to the recording of a conversation between his mother Vilma, widow of the late Ramon Cervantes Sr., and the man alleged to have masterminded his killing, the fugitive Manuel “El Pelon” Castillo, made on October 8, and accompanying his family to drop it off to police investigators, he had nothing to do with its broadcast and distribution.
He maintains that the decision was one made by the rest of his family, without his input, and says that if he had it to do again, he would have counselled against it, now knowing that he would face charges of libel and slander against Vega’s character.
Cervantes Jr denies that the airing during a memorial service for his late father last November was in any way intended to harm Vega or damage his reputation and is not even sure he believes Castillo’s claims – at least, he says he has no hard evidence to prove them. But the actual recording is nowhere in evidence and no further witnesses after Cervantes were called for either side as the case concluded before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin this afternoon.
Cervantes’ attorney, Senior Counsel Said Musa, told reporters that the denial goes straight to the heart of his clients’ defence, and the other side was able to poke no holes in it.
As for the matter of the recording, attorney for Fiesta FM which denies airing the entire broadcast, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, says it is as he expected – his opposite number Rodwell Williams was prevented from getting the recording or any representation of it in transcription or translation into evidence, and without it the case is
weakened and almost moot.
The two sides will make oral and written submissions in October concerning whether Courtenay’s decision not to call witnesses on Fiesta FM’s behalf reflects adversely on them. But according to Williams he has advanced his case and developed his line of questioning, establishing that the statements made by Castillo, Cervantes and others can be considered harmful to Vega’s reputation, though not enough from the sight of supporters inside and outside the Supreme Court today. The case resumes on October 16.
Castillo remains on the run while three alleged accomplices are charged with Ramon Cervantes Sr’s kidnapping and murder.
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