General — 18 November 2015 — by Rowland A. Parks
Munchi and Gapi libel case ends

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Nov. 12, 2015–The case brought against Ramon “Munchi” Cervantes, Jr., and Fiesta FM by Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gaspar “Gapi” Vega ended in the Supreme Court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin shortly after 1:00 p.m. today, after both sides made final oral submissions.

Chief Justice Benjamin indicated to the parties that he will issue a ruling on December 22.

Cervantes’ attorney, Said Musa, told Amandala today that he is confident that his client will be exonerated based on the deficiencies in the case that attorney Rodwell Williams, SC, had argued before the court.

Musa said that Vega did not present any evidence of what was broadcast. Instead, Vega had a tape recording of what was broadcast on Love FM, and Love FM was not the entity being sued, Musa emphasized.

Musa also stressed that the plaintiff Vega could not make up his mind about the particular actions against which he was filing suit. Cervantes, Musa said, was sued for slander, while Fiesta FM was sued for libel.

Ramon-Cervantes

The defense had argued that the tape recording of a conversation in which certain allegations were made against Vega, and which was reportedly broadcast over the radio airwaves during coverage of funeral services for Cervantes’ late father, needed to have been produced as evidence at the trial, Musa insisted.

To prove his case, Vega had relied on two witnesses, none of whom had listened to the broadcast to completion. And Vega himself admitted under cross-examination that he did not listen to the complete broadcast, and could not remember what he had heard.

Following the hearing, Musa told reporters that he was satisfied that there was no kind of evidence against his client.

“There is no primary evidence. “All that is in evidence is secondary evidence by witnesses”, Musa said. “They certainly did not bring any evidence. There was no tape in evidence. There was no iPhone in evidence. There was no slander; as you know, slander is when a person makes a statement against another,” Musa explained. Musa further stated, “My client did not cause anything to be published against Vega.”

“It certainly did not establish any slander or libel,” he went on to declare.

Attorney Eamon Courtenay, SC, who represented Fiesta FM, also said that there was no evidence presented at the trial against his client.

Courtenay explained that Vega’s attorney attempted to get a tape recording admitted through a transcript by Kelly Guzman, but the judge had ruled against admitting it.

Courtenay said that in the absence of evidence, Mr. Vega cannot succeed.

Courtenay added that on a number of occasions, they had asked the plaintiff’s attorney to produce the tape recording of the broadcast from Fiesta FM, but they were unable to do so. This led his Lordship to point out to Mr. Williams that he was facing a fundamental flaw in his case, Courtenay pointed out.

“And in our case, we believe that the fundamental flaw is the failure to prove the actual words complained about by Fiesta,” Courtenay said.

Vega’a attorney Williams said that he had to rely on the secondary evidence of what was heard by the two witnesses that he relied on. “In the absence of technology, we did our best”, Williams said.

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