The website Cayman Marl Road has been forced to publish a public apology to former Finance Minister Marco Archer over a story which alleged he had acted dishonestly in his handling of a stamp duty waiver.
Marl Road has accepted the story, published in August 2017, was inaccurate and published the apology Wednesday. bringing to an end a long-running court dispute.
Archer had sued blogger Sandra Hill for defamation, initially seeking financial damages.
Lawyers for the former minister also proposed a potential jail sentence for Hill at one stage in the proceedings over alleged breaches of a court injunction preventing her from repeating the allegations.
According to a consent order, filed by the Grand Court Tuesday, Archer has agreed to accept a full public apology, bringing the dispute to an end. The order indicates that any compensation or court costs order will be stayed, meaning Hill faces no financial penalty so long as she does not repeat the allegations and complies with the order to make a full and frank apology. Both parties will pay their own legal costs.
The court specified the wording of the apology, which appeared on the Marl Road website Tuesday, signed by Hill.
It read, “On 23 August 2017, I published a post under the headline ‘Archer accused of abuse of office in stamp duty fiasco’. In that post, I stated and insinuated that Mr. Marco Archer, the former Minister of Finance of the Cayman Islands, acted dishonestly, abused his power and misconducted himself in his profession and office, when handling a request for a stamp duty waiver. I accept fully that I was wrong to do so.
“I sincerely and unreservedly apologise to Mr. Archer for publishing allegations which it is accepted are unfounded and completely untrue. This error in judgment is something I deeply regret. I have taken stock, and have reviewed, and adjusted my editorial policies to ensure an error of this nature does not happen again.
“I completely retract the untrue allegations and apologise for my mistake and for any distress caused to Mr. Archer by publication of the story.”