Four years have elapsed since the incident of 07 February 2017 in Roseau and the initiation of the bogus, politically trumped-up charge of incitement against the Leader of Opposition, a case with petty political legs and going nowhere legally. The politically motivated case will continue to suffer from the debilitating sting of the delay injustice bug that affects our ECSC court system, fed as it were, by the wishes of the political powers that ‘run tings’.
No direct evidence has been adduced in court to link the violence that ensued following the public meeting in Roseau on 07 February 2017 to anything that the speakers said or did at the peaceful meeting held on that day. The prosecution is unable to establish a direct connection between the utterances of any speaker and the violence the ensued. The high-powered, costly prosecution led by a Trinidadian QC continues to stall in its desperate effort to link the words spoken by the accused to the violence that occurred on the night of 07 February 2017. Their inability to do so has contributed to the undue delay and judicial coma in the magistrate court with no expression of concern from the local and regional Bar Associations.
The evidence is clear.
The summary of the facts is conclusive.
The officials of the UWP did not violate any national legislation.
They did not breach public peace nor did they advocate disorder.
They did not incite anyone or a group of persons to commit any unlawful act.
There were no persuasive words or deeds complained of, which were directed to any specific person or group of persons.
There was no intention in anything expressed at the meeting to cause a riot, civil disobedience, unrest, or destruction.
In fact, the meeting was long over before the police moved in with riot gear, military-style weapons with live ammunition to intimidate a frustrated lingering crowd.
The violence was a direct reaction to the unprofessionalism and political motivation of the DLP police
The police were the main cause of the resulting riot in the City of Roseau on 07 February 2017.
The organizers of the meeting did not incite the crowd to riot in the streets of Roseau.
Since our Labour Party friends enjoy playing Hunter’s 2021 calypso that seeks to compare the conduct and actions of the former US President Trump to that of the leader of the UWP, it may be useful to compare and contrast the facts and law. In the case of Trump in the United States, the evidence on record is indisputable. The words and actions of Donald-the former President could only lead to one thing i.e., incitement of an angry mob with a clear intent to storm the United States Capitol Building at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C, the meeting place of the US Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. The angry insurrectionists actually manifested their violent intent to cause damage to property and harm to the occupiers of the Capital. They expressed stated that they intended to capture and hang the Vice-president of the United States. Unlike the preposterous and monstrous politically motivated incitement lie in Dominica, Donald Trump’s insurrection incitement charge for which he was rightfully impeached is based on real evidence. The two situations ought to be incomparable in terms of the facts, evidence, the law but similar in outcome Uncle Hunter. They are not the same ting!
The DLP government has paid a high-powered team led by an alleged racist senior lawyer from Trinidad to prosecute a simply incitement charge that is tainted with dirty local politics. Legal minds may disagree but just as a senior attorney noted in the Danny Lugay case, “this charge of incitement is malicious, vindictive and politically motivated. The charge is nonsensical, foolish, and ridiculous. They say that sympathy votes will accrue to the Speaker who wascharged. Some people who have never voted before are now minded to vote” this DLP government out. Well, they did not but it has been more votes for Danny Lugay. Both Julius and Isaac have been rejected since.
Donald Trump has been justly accused of causing riots leading up to and as part of an insurrection on 6 January 2021, which caused the death of people, injuries to Capitol police, significant damage to the Capitol Building, and long-term damage to the international reputation of the country. The brainwashed ReTrumplicans, attorneys and the 43 senators who voted to acquit could deny the impeachment charge but the facts shall be the facts and shall remain so in the anileof history.
Prior to the Senate 56 to 44 vote along party lines, the legal team of the former president asserted that the entire impeachment trial was unconstitutional and a violation of the former president’s due process rights. Having lost that argument, they proceeded to defend the former president on the merits of the strong case against him. The evidence linking former President Trump’s speech, conduct, and actions to the violence that erupted on that day fit the classical definition of incitement.
Donald Trump instructed the crowd that was gathered with a preplanned motive ‘to take back their country’from elected officials by stopping the confirmation of the votes of the Electoral College. he ordered them to march to the Capitol building. He advised the mob, “we’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer-on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them…I will march with you”,[although he did not]…we have to fight and show strength,” aware that there were people in that crowd who were ready to and intended to be violent. Trump wished, desired, and encouraged lawlessness and violent behavior. He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged – and foreseeably resulted in – lawless action at the Capitol, such as: “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore“.
Unlike the case of incitement against Hon Linton emanating from the 07 February 2017 peaceful meeting in Dominica, former President Trump had a clear violent intent. Moreover, he not only did nothing to discourage the ensuing violence. He did nothing to discourage it, strongly hinted it should happen and while the rioting was taking place, he gloated over it. He was seen celebrating with his son and friends wallowing over what they were witnessing. He also resisted sending in reinforcements to the Capitol initially while his own vice-president was under attack by the people he had incited into violence. This was clearly a “dereliction of duty”, according to political observers.
Of course, Trump had a legal right to challenge the elections. He did so and was unsuccessful in over 62 cases. Having failed at the ballot box, in the courts, with state legislatures, he incited a mob to violently raid the Capitol Building. He fueled the insurrectionists who attempted to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory. He made wild allegations of voter fraud and urged his supporters to converge with violent intent at the Capitol building.
Contrary to the defence advanced by Trump’s attorneys, Trump’s words to the crowd that they needed to “fight like hell” were not simply politically protected speech. It was incitement to the violation of the Capitol and its occupants and the commission of the crime. Moreover, the incitement of President Trump was not limited to his words delivered in a single speech on the morning of January 06. The former president encouraged violence in the months leading up to the riot. In fact, he did so as far back as the first presidential debate, when he told the Proud Boys, a violent far-right group, to “stand back and stand by.” When asked if he would willingly leave office if he loses the election, he could not commit to the traditional peaceful handover of power. He responded that he would think about it when/if that situation were to present itself.
As stated in Part I, in Dominica a charge of incitement is essentially brought in common law as we do not have incitement legislation. However, in some jurisdictions where legislation exists, the offense does not require such specific intent as the common law. This is designed to make it easier to secure a conviction. In such cases, the statute extends to acts that are likely to stir up hatred or arouse fear, leaving the notion of likelihood in law to be objectively assessed in the light of all the circumstances. In any event, none of this happened in Dominica on 07 February 2017.
Therefore, what King Hunter and his Labourite friends should take note of is that unlike the swift hearing of 62 legal cases brought before the courts following the elections, the impeachment, and political trial of former President Donald Trump by the US Senate was immediate and suffered from no delay unlike the prolonged political lynching of Lennox Linton, which continues in Dominica aided, manipulated and facilitated by players in government and agents within the justice system. Any layperson, with no legal training who has examined the status of the law, the known facts, and the lack of relevant evidence (direct and circumstantial) in the incitement case against the Leader of Opposition of Dominica must conclude that the sustainability of the charge ought to be in serious doubt. Time will not cure it. It is unlikely to be successful when it comes to its natural death. Suing the state for wrongful prosecution/persecution and damage to reputation should be the next course of action by the Leader of Opposition.