There will be no prosecution of the Caymanian Compass or its journalist Brent Fuller arising out of an article and editorial that appeared in the newspaper on 8 December.
Caymanian Compass Editor Tammie C. Chisholm said she expected the decision that was reached.
“We were always confident that wisdom and right-thinking would prevail,” she said.
That article, which concerned a Legislative Assembly subcommittee that is reviewing the Freedom of Information Law in meetings not held in the public, along with a newspaper editorial, caused Speaker of the House Mary Lawrence to suspend Mr. Fuller from the attending the Legislative Assembly for two days and call for his apology.
North Side legislator Ezzard Miller then brought a Private Member’s Motion that not only asked for the immediate cancellation of Mr. Fuller’s Legislative Assembly press privileges, but also to recommend his criminal prosecution for contravening sections 18 and 19 of the Legislative Assembly (Immunities, Powers and Privileges) Law.
Attorney General Sam Bulgin issued a statement Monday morning saying he had taken some time to consider his decision on the matter “given it’s seriousness and obvious public interest”.
“Following a very careful consideration of all circumstances, including the article, editorial, the statement of the honourable speaker, debate in the Legislative Assembly, and the law including relevant case law, I am of the opinion that there should be no prosecutions in this matter,” he stated.
“In the circumstances, the decision is that there will be no criminal proceedings instituted against Mr. Brent Fuller and/or the Caymanian Compass,”
As a result of the actions of Mrs. Lawrence and the legislators – who passed the motion nine votes to four – Caymanian Compass publisher Brian Uzzell stated the newspaper would no longer send reporters to attend Legislative Assembly, something the newspaper has done unfailingly for more than four decades. However, last Friday the newspaper clarified its position in an editorial, stating it would still cover the Legislative Assembly proceedings, but by listening to the radio replays.
Premier McKeeva Bush said he had also been advised Monday morning there would be no prosecution of the Compass or Mr. Fuller. “I certainly appreciate the AG’s decision,” said Mr. Bush, who was one of four Legislative Assembly members to vote against the prosecution. However, Mr. Bush said he believes reporters in Cayman should be more careful in the way they report.
“They need to understand the nuances of the Island,” he said. “It’s not the same as big countries.”