“The provision [used to prosecute Rayad Mohammed] was enacted in 1951. Yes, 1951. It was enacted to deal with the “misuse of telephone facilities and false telegrams. The legislature at the time sought to capture offensive messages that may have been transmitted by landlines and telegrams.
“It is a stretch, a painful one at that, to suggest that online activities are caught by this section—even if those activities are facilitated through one’s mobile phone.”
The following Letter to the Editor regarding the criminal prosecution of Rayad Mohammed for a grossly offensive Facebook post aimed at the family of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was submitted by barrister and senior lecturer Dr Emir Crowne BA, LLB, LLM, LLM, PhD, LEC:
Rayad Mohammed, the author of a morally condemnable Facebook post, was recently charged under section 106 of the Summary Offences Act. That section states that:
“Any person who—
(a) sends any message by telephone which is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene, or menacing character; or
(b) sends any message by telephone, or any telegram, which he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to any other person; or
(c) persistently makes telephone calls without reasonable cause and for any such purpose as mentioned above, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred dollars or to imprisonment for one month.”
The provision was enacted in 1951. Yes, 1951. It was enacted to deal with the “misuse of telephone facilities and false telegrams.” The legislature at the time sought to capture offensive messages that may have been transmitted by landlines and telegrams.
It is a stretch, a painful one at that, to suggest that online activities are caught by this section—even if those activities are facilitated through one’s mobile phone.
To be successfully prosecuted under the Criminal Law, there must be a statutory wrong. In the absence of clear statutory language, there can be no criminal wrongdoing. Unlike other areas of law (like Torts), there are no ‘judge made’ crimes.
To borrow the words of the House of Lords in R v. Gold and Schifreen,  2 WLR 984 (a case concerning alleged computer hacking): it is a “Procrustean attempt to force the facts of the present case into the language of an Act not designed to fit them”.
Indeed, if so-called cybercrimes were caught under this section—and others—there would be no reason for specific cybercrime legislation in the first place. We could simply rely on extremely dated laws and their whopping TT$200 fines.
To be clear, the language used in the Facebook status (which I shall not repeat), was disgusting. There is no denying that. But as the US Supreme Court recently remarked in Matal v. Tam, 582 U. S. ____ (2017) (a case concerning offensive trademarks):
“The Government has an interest in preventing speech expressing ideas that offend. And, as we [the Supreme Court] have explained, that idea strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate’.” (citing United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U. S. 644, 655 (1929)
It was a clear message from the US Supreme Court that free speech protects unpopular speech with as much force and vigour as it does popular/mainstream speech.
Again, to be clear, I thoroughly disagree with the content of Mr Mohammed’s Facebook status: but he committed no crime. The State had no business detaining him, or charging him, as there was no specific criminal law breached in this instance.
Until specific, and constitutionally-sound, laws are enacted to deal with so-called cybercrimes of this nature, Mr Mohammed is simply a target of the State’s excessive reach.
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Have a read!!!
The state could never win this case based on what he is charged for,hope he sues the state after he succeed
What about those locked up for no reason or minor in fractions. Small amts of “plant like substance” etc. How would you feel if someone say those things to you. We all should learn from this situation. Trust me it is stressful.
Novana Forde People say these things all the time especially the religious ones who are always calling down the wrath of God, no?
Is the stamen “God will deal with you” a threat?
Asking fuh a fren
Misty Autumn Dey that is the exact one to deal with people who would not change. God says “vengence is mine”
He should sue them for bias ..and so many pnm people talking shit about kamla and Hindu people and there’s nothing happening ..
It looks like making a suggestion is now a treat!!Conveniently.. !! Now let’s focus on the real issue people the victims who was grossly murdered and not forgetting raped … how come nobody saying ranting and raving about justice!!!
Or is it alyuh get amnesia on how all this started!!!
“Making a suggestion” you say like “put Visine in their drink” God help us. Too many hateful people no wonder there is so much crime. Training from small to hate.
Novana Forde exactly!
When the supposed adults amongst us speak….. you realise exactly where we started going wrong. : (
Again !!! what about justice for victim..!!! Jeez!!! Training starts from home.. !!! Put blame where blame should be associated ..
If a police shoot a criminal it would’ve protest to highest level but a criminal killing a law abiding citizen it’s ok trow the focus on a next issue that is rite now small minded but is D PM so he have all d rites not d citizen of this country that’s y they digging out we eyes wait and c they have more things coming to make all of we shut up
Blame starts in the HOMES period. Big and small criminals are in homes. Let’s start there.
Allyuh encouraging allyuh children in slackness and then wondering why the place coming so!
That was a suggestion from Rayad? Good lord…
Kamal and her Monday night Racist Forums.
People have been up in arms about crime and justice. The situation in this town is very bad. All the more reason to institute zero tolerance in all these matters.
I am not saying it is the case here, because I don’t know… but I am saying that petty, party politics will be the death of us! Why? Because far too many of us determine if an act is wrong or right solely based on whether or not the perpetrator is a supporter of a red or yellow ideology. If our judgement can be so easily skewed when ” wrong” is staring us squarely in the face… well, we’re doomed.
Did this lady said suggestion? ??Lord have mercy! Something is not right in that statement.
Let me play devil’s advocate here… just to entertain what you are implying here… You’re saying because there is low criminal detection rates, high unsolved murder stats, it’s ok to “suggest” what Rayad “suggested” Leela R Bocas??
Shreematee Maraj is your post referring to Kamla?
Is that statement logical? Suggestion? OMG!
After 3 nights of being held,the best the ttps can come up with is an act from 1951,what utter rubbish.IF IT WAS ANYONE OTHER THAN ROWLEY,DO YOU THINK THE GUY WOULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED with this so called act…..
Can anyone cursing in public be persecuted by the law. If so, many r doing it publicly on social media. Please if its d law, GO AFTER THEM 2.
Yes. Summary Offences act, use of annoying/obscene language. The other day a man was arrested and charged for showing his middle finger to a police officer under said act
Say something about this !
I can’t send pics on this site or I would of shown some threats
Long before “This Boy” was the Mirror, the Punch,the Bomb and many more obscenities. I don’t condone this boy’s utterances, plain vulgar speech but he learned from the examples before him, as, the above. He’s very young and definitely observed growing up that,ITS OK TO BE VULGAR AND OBSCENE on Carnival days on the streets of TT. Children live by the examples we set for them as Adults. Some may be fortunate to have PARENTS that correct this in their homes.
Carnival ,ole mas characters and some calypsos / Soca lyrics have that same influence on young minds.
You tube is flooded with obscenities, the best know destroying the minds of young people is a young woman called Kia and Daryl Dookoo. WHY IS THAT ALLOWS. RAW SEWERAGE, referring to themselves as party Supporters. Oh my God, Rachel , Lord have Mercy!!!!!! People on this thread investigate those persons who are allowed to CUSS freely for years . investigate THIS NOW
The guy said someone should !
What if some fool had decided to take his advice? I hope we all learn a lesson whether he is within the law or not. We should try our best to vent differently. My view… he apologized that’s good enough for me..
Tonia Nableon I love your comment; however, if “someone” decided to act on that statement then the crime would be on that person not the one who posted
Tonia Nableon I agree ☝️
That’s why we should be careful how we react to what we read on Facebook…. this situation is a bitter sweet one. Sorry the guy lost his job though I hope his boss reconsider…
Misty Autumn Dey I guess there is where the inciting violence lies within the statement…
Tonia Nableon Inciting has a target audience; this has none; it was not a threat either; both points moot
Why Abu Barka was detained for making a statement ? He made a stink nasty racist statement and the rest of Racist are finding reason to defend it….But want a Black Business Man from Sea Lots under scrutiny for Contracts. Only certain people could enjoy the resources of this Country…. Defend you all Racist Companion..
Oba Quincy, Abu Bakar instigated and carried out a ‘coup’ where he held up ANR. Robinson and persons in a media house, shot ppl and more, and why is he free to roam this country??. It’s because the Police and the Gov’t afraid of a terrorist.
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/_CHARGED_______FOR_pm______DEATH______THREAT_-174301531.html Seems the same lawyers had no idea of the laws back when it was this guy.
If you do not understand the difference between this and what obtained with the FB post I suggest that you “should” get someone to assist you
hes so gonna sue the PNM government for hundreds of thousand of dollars when he wins, for character defamation etc etc,
This is a serious matter. Face the law. Wheather its 1951 whatever. They not going in no other country and do that. Why do it in trinidad and tobago. The ppl who condone this act are condoning criminality.. If this security system treats this as a trivial matter it will become a trend. Face the court.
Politically motivated you say. So he aint do nothing wrong? eh?.all yuh good yes
I never said how I felt about his statement in my comment. Because apparently need to know, I think it was vile and reprehensible. Rape is not a matter to be trivialised.
Anyways back to HDC and Lifesport and EMBD and NGC in the Beetham swamp. Any views?
Clyde Paul You see, you think that because I said politically motivated, it means that I am in fact for or against a particular party. That’s erroneous. Read back my comment. Nowhere does it imply that. I’m saying it was politically motivated but I deliberately left out how I feel about it. In my view, this is how all administrations operate. And I choose to leave personal feelings out of the discussion. All of the scandals you have mentioned as well as many others, all perpetrated by the various administrations headed by the various political parties are a scourge on our society. Nice try though! Lol.
By inference you decree the police is inclined to be political. At least in this instance.
Clyde Paul agreed. And they may well be, regardless of who the administration is. Do you have confidence in the operational effectiveness of the principle of the separation of powers?
Clyde Paul so the police is not inclined to be political eh? Only when investigating a green leafy substance in Kamla’s house?
Once Govt changes the police’s behaviour is above reproach right?
So why they have not acted in Kamla’s situation? Were they political then?
Clyde, there are those who lack common sense and are blind to the truth of this country. And there are those who wear either red or yellow and are willfully blind.
There is plenty evidence that shows how compromised our various State bodies are.
You would have known all about that between 2010 and 2015. You would probably forget until 2020.
I’m guessing if the PNM ends up in opposition, your memory will come back until 2025. ???
In this specific case based on the vitriolic attack on the PM’s family the police acted and thats my view.Plus the gentleman has history of posting unnerving statements and he is going to be made an example that will slow down others. To me the police action in tbis case is in the pubkic interest.
The law ought not to be applied to make an example of someone. That in itself suggests bias. It should be applied consistently.
I do think the boy should be reprimanded. If he was in this group, he would have been banned immediately.
I agree that his attack was despicable and deserved action. All we are saying is we would like to see the Gov’t do it the right way.
What will probably happen is the boy will get off and the State would have wasted money on this case. Best case scenario for the State is the boy gets a $200 fine, which is still arguably a waste of State resources.
Now which of those two scenarios comforts you Clyde Paul?
None satisfies me and I think that is the point of this blog by Emir.
Lasana What did you think of Daniel Khan’s take on this matter tho?
Nadeera, I didn’t see it. Can you share?
Thanks Nadeera. Will share here: https://www.facebook.com/608503899188913/videos/1443277675711527/?autoplay_reason=gatekeeper&video_container_type=0&video_creator_product_type=0&app_id=173847642670370&live_video_guests=0
And I disagree with everything Khan said after probably the opening sentence. He thinks we should leave Facebook open for people to share hate and rate and that it is only obscene statements that get forwarded.
I strongly object to that sentiment. We should be marginalising miscreants and not giving them the opportunity to spread their views.
Who made Khan the conscience of Facebook and the Internet? I reject almost everything he said. That’s not the society I want at all.
I wish he was in this group to defend that post.
Lasana that’s exactly how I feel. I was really annoyed by it when I first saw it. I really could not believe what I was hearing.
i really resent when someone asks me to switch off my brain and lower my expectations to fit into some party line.
That’s why I pray for Clyde as often as I can! ??
Just kidding Clyde… (Mostly anyway!)
He did something wrong. There must be a consequence. If he had ssved the couple he would hsve been in line for a national award..
I agree with that Clyde. If we find there is no legal way to punish him, then best to give him a lesson in civics and fix the law though.
Two wrongs won’t make a right. And they can be expensive too.
If the State spends money to prosecute, fails to win and then ends up having to pay the boy a settlement… Who will apologise to taxpayers?
Lasana “The law ought not to be applied to make an example of someone. That in itself suggests bias. It should be applied consistently.”
What you’re essentially arguing is that there ought not be any discretion used in prosecuting crimes, apply the full weight of the law in every instance.
I’m gonna add my 2c here, and I’m not sure if anyone here has made this point already, but for the record…
While we debate what law was or was not violated, l believe the action taken against this young man was politically motivated and executed by police upon instruction to make this young man an example of what not to do on social media. I personally don’t think they (politicians + police) care about whether he actually broke a law or not. We know it’s fuzzy since we actually having a debate on it, and that is what lawyers are trained to do.
Creating a controversy which keeps the conversation going (unfortunately) has had a bad effect on this man’s life also – I also don’t think they care about that. Amongst other things, this was a political PR tactic executed with the help of the police.
you believe? based on what evidence?
So you also believe that the woman held in Sangre GRande for beating the toddler is also politically motivated? If not, why not?
Do you also think that the SOE in 2011 was politically motivated and carried out by the army AND police? IF so, why? If not, why?
Well, you’re absolutely right, because if someone had any evidence, we wouldn’t be having this discussion would we? This is all speculation. Call it a gut feeling if you want. Do you have any evidence regarding the operational effectiveness of the principle of the separation of powers here?
The evidence is that the DPP…a demonstrably independent office from the Executive, instructed the TTPS…who is not at times demonstrably independent…in the action.
If the detention was political, I would have expected the DPP to instruct no laying of charges.
Kwesi Prescod According to the separation of powers principle, the legislative branch is also “demonstrably independent” of the executive branch. Why one and not the other? How it’s supposed to be is not how it is. And as someone stated in this or another post related to this matter, convenience drives comprehension and opinion in the Trinidadian mindset on any given topic.
nope…its theoretically independent, but as MP’s are ministers, it is NOT demonstrably so,.
The key here is the action of independent offices. These offices are professional and should not be swayed by convenience. I say that the DPP is demonstrably independent because the office holder has operated in a fashion that has both the PP and PNM vex…so he walking to the beat of a different drum.
Kwesi Prescod Lol ok, I concede to that. I still feel like there is political motivation, and please note that it doesn’t mean I have a side. It was just my personal observation.
That’s cool. I still feel the Commissioner of Police is compromised. But feelings on such things don’t mean squat, do they?
I have seen a lot of hate and things bordering on death threats against the opposition. Why has the independent DPP and police not acting?
Neither are we in the US
Was going to say that
And if you went out without a hijab in Afghanistan, you might be raped or assaulted.
Good thing we are not in Afghanistan or china.
(Good lord… please know that wasn’t a wish or threat!)
I rest my case.
So many lawyers giving their opinions,if he made that comment in China he and the rest of the family will be publicly shot.
But we don’t live in China and none of us want to so do.
I agree with you Dr Crowne.
Also seems more like a wish than a threat to me.
Yeah but it’s similar to our case in the intent. Like saying “so and so should get hit by a car”. Is very different from saying “I going to knock down so and so!”.
So apparently if I say someone should hack Hilary Clinton’s email, it should be considered a threat.
Vernal I think you’re going overboard with this Devil’s Advocate thing. Inciting criminal mischief is not the same as inciting bodily harm.
Lol. Vernal Only if Hilary have a daughter name “email”. Then for sure hacking would get them in trouble?
I have a serious question … Do we live in Canada? The point is no laws were broken in T&T by this young man. Do we agree with what he said? No. So stop using other countries laws as justification for the government abusing its power and over stepping it bounds. This is a very slippery slope we are on.
Ok Adriel. First of all posting an article that references a similar situation is not in any way an endorsement or justification for the guy’s arrest. And secondly I’m not sure you can use the guy’s arrest as “government abusing it’s power” as it’s the police who arrested him not the government.
Adriel Section 106 of the Telephone Offences Act. Familiarize yourself with it.
Yes, you all need to actually familiarize yourselves with the “Telephone offences act”. If you look up the definition of telephones and telegraphs you will understand the difference between computers and these devices. There is a reason why Faris came out accusing this man of breaking laws in the cyber crime bill which is not law yet. There is also a reason why this young man admission of wrong doing turned into a plea of not guilty once a lawyer was involved.
Thanks for informing me that the police is not a public institution and operates without government involvement.
I have no idea what you’re talking about with your last comment, and clearly you do not either.
And of course he would plead not guilty, that’s defense lawyering 101… taught the class myself. But let’s pretend you actually have a clue what you’re talking about, emphasis on “pretend,” you might actually consider that he posted the comment from his mobile phone. Or are you trying to make the case that a mobile phone is not a “telephone” under the Act? I would hope not.
Telephone definition : a system for transmitting voices over a distance using wire or radio, by converting acoustic vibrations to electrical signals.
I’m really not about to waste any more time arguing with you. Consider that some of us might actually be drawing on real world experiences when we comment, and not just degrees from Google U.
you claim to not waste time then type the same comment twice?
You clearly have other issues beyond the obvious logical deficiencies.
Ahh here comes the character assassination … when you fail at trying to make a logical point people always resort to character assassination.
I know nothing of your “character” so I can’t comment on that. Just the logically deficient positions you’ve taken up in this thread.
” I’m really not about to waste any more time arguing with you”. Quoted from Nigel S. Scott but continues to respond …
Responding is not the same as “arguing,” but you’re right, this is clearly getting counterproductive.
Exactly when someone believes a handheld computer device is a telephone, then goes on to speculate that the said person posted from a mobile device without evidence to back this up. Its time to throw in the proverbial towel.
Nigel S. Scott “Consider that some of us might actually be drawing on real world experiences when we comment, and not just degrees from Google U.” From about that point you actually did get snarky… You didn’t violate group rules by it. But it doesn’t really help the exchange of ideas much eh…
Lasana Liburd “snarky”? You serious? That’s a stated fact. Some people run to google to copy and paste and to get definitions of things with which they’re unfamiliar, and some actually know from experience what they’re talking about. I’ve been on the receiving end of worse “Smart and quote from you in the past which you yourself have admitted, but I’ve never seen any comments about violation of group rules.
The group rules ask people not to insult other posters. I said you didn’t do so but the spirit of that is to try not to be offputting essentially. You don’t know what Ariel’s schooling might be and didn’t ask. So it was dismissive.
There are many people with masters who also use Google. All I’m saying is to consider what your response might do to the exchange of ideas. That’s all
I posted the definition of the word “telephone” to help with the understanding of the terminology were are dealing with. Instead of continuing the discussion you start attacking the posting of fact. Which shows the direction you wish to take this conversation. Your posts border on cyber bulling and only forces people to become defensive and distract away from any intelligent conversation to be had. You then justify this behavior by pointing fingers back at the people who pick you on on this behavior. How does this help?
Google U actually helps when researching the law, rather than purchasing the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago.
Let the man stand the consequences for his predetermined actions. Check his record on fb. And then what Ms Rowley have to do with his stupid and ignorant thinkinh. Clearly he is a malicious person .
Hope lessons are learnt by all……
Didn’t Fitzgerald Hinds (2016) say, ” I said to my colleagues, as a younger parliamentarian then, I said the UNC is badly wounded. We need to finish them out. Kill them dead. I want you to understand that on November 28, you have the opportunity to drive a PNM balisier deep into the hearts of the wicked UNC vampires. Take a stake with a balisier on top and drive it deep within their heart and finish them off once and for all.”
Was that threatening or inciting? Was he charged?
I totally condemn the words used by Mr. Mohommed, but were those words used as intent or as a result of poor literary skills? Had he said “should somebody…” rather than “somebody should…” would that have made a difference?
Based on this article and the law, it seems that the prosecution will have to prove that he used his phone to access his FB account rather than a computer or Tablet.
Secondly, they will have to prove that he directed those comments specifically toward Dr. Keith Rowley and his family rather than a ‘Rowley’ in general. Mr. Mohommed was not specific as to which Rowley he was speaking of.
Didn’t Colm Imbert delete a post allegedly made by him and said that his account was hacked?
What if Mr. Mohommed says that his account was hacked?
Or what if he said that his phone was cloned? Which happens more often than people think.
Who specifically was he inciting to commit a crime against ‘Rowley’s’ family, was it to the world? Without specificity, the prosecution will have an uphill battle. How are they going to prove intent to commit a crime vs sarcasm?
Wow, you Trinis have no idea how dangerous this is. This is an assault on freedom of sspeech. You alling for his arrest cannot seem to distinguish from a very stupid post from an actually call for violence.
Go ahead, tyranny can come creeping slowly over many years and one day you may find yourselves being told what you can say or go to jail. Then it will be too late.
Btw, free speech is not just for popular speech but for unpopular, insulting speech.
It’s kinda sad that you all don’t have a 1st amendment (us Constitution) and you don’t know what freedom truly is.
-i disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it- Voltaire.
Well..should we not indict Shamfa? if evah there was abuse of a telephone that was it.
I am no legal mind but I want to throw this into the mix, after his post went public the amount of mother this and mother that he responded with, it was sickening and after it created a storm, he apologized and took down his page, to my mind all that should form evidence against him
With all due respect to the good Dr. Crowne this is a letter which doesn’t really make a strong legal basis against the application of the law to this situation. The law in this case states:
“106. Any person who—
(a) sends any message by telephone which is grossly
offensive or of an indecent, obscene, or menacing
character… is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred dollars
or to imprisonment for one month.”
Not really sure what the issue… if the communication was posted to Facebook via his cellphone (as opposed to his computer or tablet), then the application of the law is proper. Now if Dr. Crowne had discussed the issue of how the message was posted (specifically whether it was posted by some means other than through the use of his phone, then he would have made a much more persuasive, and legally sound argument.
Does where it was posted make a difference?
For e.g., was it a public forum/chat, he just posted it on his page?
What we have not heard, as far as I am aware, was the circumstances of how the post was made.
I don’t think it matters under this law where it was posted, the language of the law only requires that he “sends” the (offensive) message.
Did he access internet in his cellphone Lasana Liburd?
That is where the illustrious Dr. Crowne should have begun the inquiry.
Hear what you asking me. Lol
so then how Crowne or u know the charges overeaching?
Kyon, the author laid out his reasons.
“It is a stretch, a painful one at that, to suggest that online activities are caught by this section—even if those activities are facilitated through one’s mobile phone.”
So because we have new ways of using telephone lines and facilities means that the old prohibitions against using them in the manner he used them no longer apply?
Did any part of his posting utilize telephone or telephone facilities? Then why is it a stretch? Do we need to update libel and slander laws too because it is easier to publish defamatory statements?
It does NOT have ANY similarity to the law on telephones and telegrams; THAT should be your very FIRST action; reading the law and drawing the parallels
The next part of the law requires “a course of action” specifying a minimum of two occasions for this to constitute “harassment” which is what the law falls under
lastly, if you are also implying that this was a threat then I would kindly suggest that you check with a dictionary
Btw, should I have used “should” instead of “would” then it also changes the meaning of this entire comment
That one is Grammar 101
You “should” also look into that
Eron you are making a valid point. Why is the learned lecturer employing a narrow interpretation of what a telephone is? Granted the legislature ought to have kept pace with modern times and passed legislation to cover these situations. Just because a law is old doesn’t mean it is always irrelevant.
Misty Autumn Dey I must apologize to you. I am a little confused by your post. Maybe you intended to say this in response to some other Facebook post not my own. I was talking about the professors post. Since I don’t know you or recognize any of the pictures on your profile thanks for your efforts to educate me? I see your attempt to imply that I am stupid, your suggestion that I should look into grammar 101 or should check a dictionary for the definition of a “threat” although I never said a threat was made
Misty Autumn Dey I must apologize to you. I am a little confused by your post. Maybe you intended to say this in response to some other Facebook post not my own. I was talking about the professor’s post
Blissful ignorance. …
Rohan San wait me? If so please elaborate. If you care to that is.
That law was a really far reach. .. when that law was written, it could not include what we know as text messages since that was not invented until many years later…
Rohan San so if you kill someone using a laser beam you can’t prosecute because laser beams weren’t invented when the law was written? Replace laser beam with assault rifle or any new innovation in weapons technology…invented after a particular murder or assault statute.
If the law says projectile weapon, then no you can’t use “THAT LAW” … you would need another law …
We have telegram here?
What is it?
He lost his job thats good enough for me
That’s why the TTPS and office of DPP took so 4 days to charge him. Lol.
They all deserve a 6-month, all expenses paid vacation as a reward for such an intellectually challenging task….. lol
Should learn to think before you write and have some respect.
The fines should be twenty thou and 18 months.
I wonder to what extent the case of Johnson vs Texas is relevant. Seems to me that Rayad Mohammed’s post would fall within “symbolic speech”. Emir Crowne as a legal mind, I would appreciate your thoughts and to this end I include the case summary.
Facts and Case Summary – Texas v. Johnson
Facts and case summary for Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989). Flag burning constitutes symbolic speech that is protected by the First Amendment.
Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag outside of the convention center where the 1984 Republican National Convention was being held in Dallas, Texas. Johnson burned the flag to protest the policies of President Ronald Reagan. He was arrested and charged with violating a Texas statute that prevented the desecration of a venerated object, including the American flag, if such action were likely to incite anger in others. A Texas court tried and convicted Johnson. He appealed, arguing that his actions were “symbolic speech” protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court agreed to hear his case.
Whether flag burning constitutes “symbolic speech” protected by the First Amendment.
The majority of the Court, according to Justice William Brennan, agreed with Johnson and held that flag burning constitutes a form of “symbolic speech” that is protected by the First Amendment. The majority noted that freedom of speech protects actions that society may find very offensive, but society’s outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech.
In particular, the majority noted that the Texas law discriminated upon viewpoint, i.e., although the law punished actions, such as flag burning, that might arouse anger in others, it specifically exempted from prosecution actions that were respectful of venerated objects, e.g., burning and burying a worn-out flag. The majority said that the government could not discriminate in this manner based solely upon viewpoint.
Writing for the dissent, Justice Stevens argued that the flag’s unique status as a symbol of national unity outweighed “symbolic speech” concerns, and thus, the government could lawfully prohibit flag burning.
Facts and Case Summary – Texas v. Johnson Facts and case summary for Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989). Flag burning constitutes symbolic speech that is protected by the First Amendment. Facts Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag outside of the convention center where the 1984 Republican National Convention was being held in Dallas, Texas. Johnson burned the flag to protest the policies of President Ronald Reagan. He was arrested and charged with violating a Texas statute that prevented the desecration of a venerated object, including the American flag, if such action were likely to incite anger in others. A Texas court tried and convicted Johnson. He appealed, arguing that his actions were “symbolic speech” protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court agreed to hear his case. Issue Whether flag burning constitutes “symbolic speech” protected by the First Amendment. Ruling Yes. Reasoning (5-4) The majority of the Court, according to Justice William Brennan, agreed with Johnson and held that flag burning constitutes a form of “symbolic speech” that is protected by the First Amendment. The majority noted that freedom of speech protects actions that society may find very offensive, but society’s outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech. In particular, the majority noted that the Texas law discriminated upon viewpoint, i.e., although the law punished actions, such as flag burning, that might arouse anger in others, it specifically exempted from prosecution actions that were respectful of venerated objects, e.g., burning and burying a worn-out flag. The majority said that the government could not discriminate in this manner based solely upon viewpoint. Dissent Justice Stevens Writing for the dissent, Justice Stevens argued that the flag’s unique status as a symbol of national unity outweighed “symbolic speech” concerns, and thus, the government could lawfully prohibit flag burning.
In my view, the decision shows the breadth that free ‘speech’ is given in the US. The Facebook post in question is undoubtedly ‘speech’, whereas one could question whether flag burning was, in fact, speech at all.
Emir Crowne I guess it depends on the definition of “speech”. Is speech expression it is it strictly verbiage? It would be great to hear a debate between some legal & constitutional minds like yourself on this issue. That’s my disappointment with these issues in TT. We seem to have lost the desire or interest in debating issues. This is an issue with great potential fir shaping our nation
I have not come across any WI jurisprudence which articulates a similar breath of coverage relating to the right to free speech in Caribbean constitutions. To draw a parallel, in Piper v Galloway it was held that being arrested for beating a drum on a street corner did not constitute an infringement of the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in the Dominican constitution. By parity of reasoning, there is little to suggest that free speech in a Caribbean context would be as broadly defined as obtains in the US. Perhaps the part of the problem is that we do not have enough cases testing these points to determine the ambit of constitutional rights
Has no bearing. Johnson vs. Texas is a US Supreme Court decision, which might (and I emphasize *might*) serve as persuasive authority, but it certainly does not serve as mandatory authority on local courts.
Nigel S. Scott I disagree. It’s about the definition and broader ambit of what constitutes free speech!!!!
Disagreement is your right… but the fact remains that this is an American definition of what constitutes free speech, local Trini courts are not obligated to follow in kind.
To elaborate, TnT follows UK/Commonwealth law… not US jurisprudence.
Nigel S. Scott Oh God we know that!!! But we are yet developing. As my full text said this is an issue of national development. One day soon we will have to further elaborate and advance our constitutional and legal standing in these issues. At that point, I’m sure that the architects of that new domain won’t rely on the narrow experiences os just the commonwealth! I am confident that those men and women will be wiser and smarter than that
Your comment presupposes that free speech laws in TnT are not as developed as First Amendment jurisprudence in the US. A proper understanding of the “UK/Commonwealth law” reference would first take into consideration the state of Commonwealth free speech jurisprudence before dismissively dealing with question of “constitutional and legal standing.”
I wonder if it was lil ghetto runt who made that statememt if people would be that concerned?
That’s unfair in this case Joel. And you’re talking about the lawyer who was first on board to help Thema Williams by the way.
I am deailng reality of optics ( not the lawyer) if he looked like this would they care
Would who care Joel Riley?
You’re getting on as if Rayad was sitting on the table with Sabga-Aboud. You think people are discussing him because he is of Indian descent? Why?
she walked one , two it has nothing to do with his race. His profile if one of young man no outward signs of deviant behaviour often we believe those persons who carry such traits should not be charged. When the law should be blind.
Joel who said he shouldn’t be charged? That isn’t the debate I think.
We are discussing the relevant laws and if they apply and whether they should be fixed. Nobody is shedding tears for Rayad here or begging for mercy.
ok i hear you good point
Didn’t “Granny Quila” look like the Afro boy in that photo? And didn’t people discuss her?
Well said Lasana, and way to accept what Lasana said there Joel. Now on a related note and not to send this post in a different direction..I wondered — and actually posted — that if Rayad looked like the fellah in your picture, he probably would not have had half as much FB “defenders” as Rayad has.
No matter what you say about the Gov’t, 49.5 percent of the country will love it and 49.5 percent will hate it.
There is a difference between making threats and wishing harm.
“You should get pushed off a cliff”
Is not a threat
“I am going to push you off a cliff”
Is a threat
Exactly well said!!
If the first is not a threat…If it is said publicly..u may b inciting someone to do it…many criminals send their henchmen to do the dirty work for them n they 2 r considered GUILTY..
See why killers go free on a technicality only to kill again and again. Law cannot cover all the angles so we must be wise. Why would you wish rape and death on someone. When you want to be and do evil make sure you have no children/family. Smh
Technicality? ? Ignorance really is bliss
Why are we making this idiot famous.?
… more applicable legal basis? Just asking…see:-
Cybercrime Law 2017
4. In this Act—
“computer data” means any representation of—
(c) machine-readable code or instructions; or
(d) information, including text, sound, image or video, that is in a form suitable for processing in a computer system and is capable of being sent, received or stored, and includes a program that can cause a computer system
to perform a function;
“data message” has the meaning assigned to it in the Electronic Transactions Act; “device” means any electronic programmable device used, whether by itself or as part of a computer network, an electronic communications network or any other device or equipment, or any part thereof, to perform pre-determined arithmetic, logical, routing or storage operations and
(a) an input device;
(b) an output device;
(c) a processing device;
(d) a computer data storage medium;
(e) a program; or
that is related to, connected with or used with such a device or any part thereof;
Act No. 6 of 2011
“electronic mail message” means an unsolicited data message, including electronic mail and an instant message;
18. (1) A person who uses a computer system to communicate with the intention to cause harm to another person commits an offence.
(2) In determining whether an offence is committed under this section, the Court may take into account any factor which it considers relevant,
(a) the extremity of the language used in the communication;
(b) the age and characteristics of the person involved;
(c) whether the communication was anonymous;
(d) whether the communication was repeated;
(e) the extent of circulation of the communication;
(f) whether the communication is true or false;
(g) the context in which the communication appeared.
(3) A person who commits an offence under this section is liable—
(a) on summary conviction to a fine of
one hundred thousand dollars and to imprisonment for three years; or
(b) on conviction on indictment to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and imprisonment for five years.
(4) For the purposes of this section, “harm” means serious emotional distress.
Was this passed anyway? Because he was not charged under the cybercrime bill.
seems its still a “Bill” Ok…. my bad…. I guess it might become an Act when the technology in reference becomes obsolete 🙂 Thanks Lasana. Liking the conversation all the same…
Debs say when the technology becomes obsolete yes???
In criminology there is something called “general deterrence” and “specific deterrence.” The specific would be aimed at the individual, in this case Rayad. The general is aimed at the larger audience, the society, sending a message that such comments will not be tolerated. The IRS, MI5 and other organizations hunt down people at all expenses to drive home the second point.
That’s what Trinidadians are not getting.
We are not very good at being analytical; we operate largely on the emotional and it’s difficult to get ppl to see beyond that. We “feel” a lot and “think” very little. Not really our fault, though.
Well put Rudy! The only difference I see with T&T as oppose to other countries where general and specific deterrence actually works is that in those countries no one is above the law. I’m no expert in criminology, however, intuitively I don’t think specific and general deterrence works in a lawless society where a President can knowingly and fraudulently receive over $600K in housing allowance and not be touched. The problem starts at the top.
By the way, the infantile and disrespectful behavior of politicians in parliament which is transmitted on television contributes to the lawlessness.
Sorry to stray from the point, but I think yuh catch mih drift.
Therein lies our challenges: our examples, role models etc. When they violate laws with impunity, what do they expect the “lesser mortals” to do? The entire legal system is dysfunctional, as is the health care as is education et al. When nurses see doctors taking state medication to use in their private practice, what do we expect them to do? No examples, the blind leading the blind…
Excellent point Rudy, something which I alluded to in response to Malcolm’s comment above. This is more about general deterrence than any desire to prosecute or penalize this particular individual, as it should be… our focus should always be on the bigger picture.
It’s easier to persecute this guy than to tackle really serious issues, makes for great drama and hysteria….
Yeah. It seems kinda lazy. What the fellah said is inexcusable but gov’t should go about this the right way in terms of proper legislation and so on.
But they have to accept that we feel all they good for is throwing the book at motorists and low hanging fruit. That’s all we ever get from them.
I couldn’t care less about the fellah getting a scare. But we should strive to do things the right way.
Can a smart device still be classified telephone?
Well it’s a distraction from Marlene and her ahem….friends….
Well that is true. Coincidence?
I think not…..?
On paper, the workings of the police should be separate from politics. But we saw that how works in the past, particularly under the last administration.
It’s the Nightmare on Elm Street on steroids….
Lasana, only under the last admin? Remember there’s the emailgate investigation still outstanding, I wonder why haven’t we had the results yet?
I have to ask, how is the elected government making this an issue? The PM hasn’t made any statements about this, this is 100% the police doing their respective jobs.
And mind you, while all this going on they have been following leads wrt the killings that caused the jackass statement in the first place, and held a suspect afaik.
So what is the truth?
Savitri not only the last government for sure. But I’m more keenly aware of things that occurred since 2012 because I mainly wrote only on sport before.
In my opinion, the state does not expect to win this matter. The purpose of laying the charge is to teach this kid a lesson as well as to send a message to society. The backlash is that a lot of time would be expended by the state in a matter that carries a minuscule fine; where there is a high likelihood of acquittal. Therefore the question is, does the hourly rate multiplied by the time spent by the prosecution lawyers really worth getting a conviction in a matter that carries a $200 fine?
And what’s more, by engaging in this political theater, this judicial frivolity, this country bookie entertaining mamaguy even more division within tjis society will be engendered as many will understandably see it as political persecution.
As far as the hourly rate multiplied by etc. question you asked..I think the resounding answer would be a big “hell no” it wouldn’t be worth getting a conviction with a $200 fine.
At this point this is really to teach this joker a lesson and send a message to other like-minded jokers, and I have no problem with that. Additionally if it’s a step towards getting the powers that be to update that 1951 statute, we’ll all be better for it…cause going forward it’ll only get worse as far as this social media thing goes.
Vernal Damion Cadogan It’s bordering the political persecution line because if the same remark was made by this kid towards the opposition leader instead, there would not have been any repercussions. The same can be said the Granny Aquilla kid had directed her comments as the opposition leader 5 years ago.
Don’t discount the deterrent value in prosecuting this case. Think of it as an investment in preventing future similar activity.
The deterrent of a $200 fine? You pay more for parking downtown and people risk that anyway.
Lasana conviction also subjects one to incarceration.
I haven’t seen any mention of that. What’s the charge?
It’s right there in the Act. I’m on the road and can’t pull it up right now… but I think it’s six months incarceration.
Okay. I think nobody believes that six month threat is applicable as it has not been mentioned.
$200 or 1 month imprisonment
Malcolm and Nigel, I think he can afford $200… And that is IF he loses.
He can. After reading the law again, I changed my mind regarding the state’s ability to convict him. The ingredients to charge and convict him is satisfied. He (1) used his telephone, and (2) sent a grossly offensive message. Had he used his desktop or laptop, he may not have been charged.
I’m no lawyer, so I’m not sure whether the fact that at the time the law was written, text messages wasn’t covered/considered whether that would be a good defense. Nigel S. Scott is better suited to answer that.
In a news report, I heard it stated that he used his mom’s phone and that she handed it over to the police.
Malcolm beat me to it, one month in jail. Whether he could afford $200 and/or a month in jail isn’t the point… otherwise rich people would never be prosecuted. As discussed elsewhere, there is specific deterrence targeted at the offender so that they don’t commit the crime again, then there is general deterrence directed at the general public so that they don’t commit the crime at all. Arguing that *some* may not be deterred is hardly a good argument against prosecution. The elements (“ingredients” as Malcolm called them) of the offense are all made out. Charges are filed after an investigation, so I’m sure the police/DPP determined that his phone was used before charging.
Nigel the penalty gives an idea of how serious the State views the crime too. Nuff said.
You mean how serious they viewed it back on 1951. Not that that means anything, we’ve gone from arguing that “he didn’t commit a crime,” to “it’s an overreach,” to “he should not be prosecuted,” to “the state doesn’t take the crime serious.” A variety of shifting positions in defense of what, really?
There is one position really. And that is the law created in 1951 doesn’t really fit obnoxious behaviour on Facebook in 2017.
Which itself isn’t a really sustainable position, given that defamation laws written in 1846 very much apply to the same Facebook in 2017.
Well we will soon see eh. Let’s see if this is an expensive cock up and if anyone will take responsibility for it then.
We will see.
Lasana remember Sasha Mohammed and the ‘Janice Thomas’ affair?
Yup – I remember it well
I do indeed.
put it bluntly this learned gentlemen must understand the law is the law,the summary offences chapter 11/02 might be a relic of the colonial past,you could have threatened the any leader in the developed world family,the place would have been crawling with secret service agents,abuse must not be tolerated,the law is no respector of persons
So….things that are relics and still on the books should all be vigorously pursued? Not saying that this man shouldn’t have been charged for something just that there myst have been something more fitting.
The cyber crime bill would have dealt with situations coming from the social media, our laws are not in pace with developing and unique happening, but the law will always be an ass the same law enforcement agencies can apply the law of the land. The use of road blocks and the ticketing of motorists must be looked at in the same time as this offense
Mya Alexander-Owen exactly!
Rayad Mohammed’s post was overly emotional, disgusting, nasty and offwnzi. I have struggled to understand what law he breached. Thanks to Emir for clarifying.
I don’t think the state is over reacting. If he made a callous post making threats against the Prime Minister’s family then yes he deserved to be punished. I’m all for freedom of speech but also there are consequences and sadly he paid the price for being a keyboard warrior. Maybe the rest of the population will think twice about posting these kinds of posts on Facebook.
Lol @ keyboard warrior.
May I ask what the threat is? Oh and btw, before responding I suggest, kindly, that you look up the definition of “threat”
Misty Autumn Dey I also kindly suggest you use Google and find the definition of the word, “threat,” because obviously you don’t know yourself, please and many thanks!
The post wasnt a threat. He said somebody should. Thats not a threat. It was disgusting but not a threat.
If you say so Hayden Anthony Gonzales. You and others may not see it as a threat, however in the eyes of National Security, they might see it as a threat especially pertaining to the Prime Minister’s family. I don’t understand how someone can be stupid enough to post such a statement on Facebook and don’t expect some sort of punishment.
Alicia Richardson, what do you mean especially pertaining to the Prime Minister? Is he worth more than the 13yr old child and the raped care giver. Lady get real, that is why there is different strokes for different folks in the country. Because of you and statements like yours.
☝☝☝STEUPS! Who in d hell said anything about value of one life over another???
Jail the murderers and fine the idiot who made the disgusting fb post. This is not about punishing SOME…punish ALL!!!
You don’t seem to understand what a “threat” is… blissful ignorance. ..
Rohan San do tell me oh genius one.
A cellphone is as much a telephone as a seahorse is a horse.
good start to the post ???
So a cellphone is not a telephone? So what is it? You don’t make and receive calls on it again. Do you even know the origin of the cellular phone? Vernal. You usually make valid points. Wham today?
It makes for a funny ice breaker for the discussion but it could not be any more illogical as a statement. A cellphone is very much a telephone.
Could you do with a telephone what he did?
You posting from yuh land line?
my cell phone is a telephone
Google “telephone” and “cellphone”, see if is the same.
Cellular telephone, sometimes called mobile telephone, is a type of short-wave analog or digital telecommunication in which a subscriber has a wireless connection from a mobile phone to a relatively nearby transmitter. The transmitter’s span of coverage is called a cell. As the cellular telephone user moves from one cell or area of coverage to another, the telephone is effectively passed on to the local cell transmitter
A cellphone is a computerized device that also makes calls.
Who my boy call?
he accessed a wireless connection
That law does not cover new technology.
Read the article
Vernal, arguing a “cellphone” is not a telephone is like arguing a mobile home is not a “home.” Come on bruh.
… and btw, the argument that the law did not contemplate advances in technology is a legal non-starter, while true it’s hardly dispositive on the issue of whether the law applies. To illustrate, when the Libel and Defamation Act was first passed in 1845 it most certainly did not contemplate publication via the internet. The Act was updated in 2014 and as best as can be determined, *still* does not make mention of the internet. One would have a difficult time arguing before a Court however, that defamatory statements published on the internet are somehow exempt under the law.
Vernal, I get you pal. And for the record, I’m pretty sure if you have a mobile home in Trinidad you could evade Colm’s property tax. Because the law probably doesn’t have anything to deal with that specifically here.
And I believe that, in a nutshell, is Vernal’s point.
Nigel, so a mansion and an unfinished one room would pay same tax if they are on same acreage in place of similar value?
(Of course we are going off course but I am curious)
Correction… it is pegged both to the rental value of “land” and to the rental value of the “home.” See the formula used for assessing here:
So the answer to your question would be ‘no’… the rate would be 3% of the Annual Taxable Value of the unfinished one room or mansion.
Incidentally, “house boats” are subject to the Property Tax, so it stands to reason that “mobile homes” likely would be as well.
I think this boy should rightfully be punished there are too many people in society nowadays issuing threatening statements on social media etc and getting away with it just to make themselves look the big man. This kind of nonsense is taken very serious in the UK no one in this world can be trusted these days too many people linked to terroism you can never be too careful. Let this immature little boys stupidness be a lesson to all the youths to stop trying to act the big man and smart ass on social media coz it will only cost you some sort of punishment
All I will add to that is punishment should be consistent for people who abuse Facebook. It probably should not come under an act that deals with Telephones and Telegrams though! Lol.
Lasana Liburd yes they should have a separate act that deals with social media and bring themselves up to date with the times ?
spoken a ah real old PNMite
Regardless if there is a law or not people must have respect for another human being. Too many are taught to hate so show contempt. Sad to say many who should be the examplers are sadly lacking. Lawlessness is the order of the day.
Under the act !!!
Murder is.unlawfull too !!!
Facebook is an entity on its own. It is owned and run by it’s founder, Facebook has its own laws and can and do deal with cyber crime or any other offences that breach their code of conduct and ethics.
We would like to hear a comment about
the murders committed by the ” little boys ” who raped a grandma slit her throat and also slit the throat of a 13 yr old
Y must him.alone be punish diffrent strokes for different folks stueppss
Shreematee Maraj from the dotishness you post u are a good candidate for punishment lol.
Punish he RA skin whee
What was the “threatening ” part of his statement?
For real how come a big fat stink looking man could use fb to bash the former prime minister and nobody have a problem with that
Savitri Deosaran bashing and inciting people to harm others are two different things and Rohan San please don’t show your ignorance.