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Bahamas: Smith Leads Calls To End ‘Archaic’ Criminal Libel Laws

RIGHTS Bahamas yesterday renewed calls for an end to archaic criminal libel laws after social media commentator Gorman Bannister was remanded to prison over the offence.

Bannister was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Derrence Rolle-Davis over allegations he intentionally defamed ex-Cabinet minister Tennyson Wells in a series of voice notes. He was charged with two counts of intentional libel, bail was denied and he was remanded to prison. However, he was bailed a short time later, this newspaper understands.

The human rights group said criminal libel is unconstitutional and has no place in a modern democracy.

RB legal director Fred Smith yesterday said calls for the abolition of the criminal libel laws went back to the early 1980s.

Mr Smith said: “No government, of any party hue, should have criminal libel laws in its arsenal of powers to limit freedom of expression. Rights Bahamas renews its call on the government to enact a human rights act and to legislate against hate speech.”

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