Jamaican dancehall artist Popcaan has started the process of suing the Government of Jamaica and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), and according to the artist’s attorney, Bert Samuels, Jamaican taxpayers just might end up paying the largest ever award for damages when it comes to cases of this kind.
The libel litigation was filed on Friday, July 8th and according to Samuels, the team is confident that the action will be successful. The case was sparked by a press release that was issued on July 6th by the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The press statement was issued after Popcaan was ‘detained’ in London, prior to his appearance at the 2022 Wireless Festival. The artist had used social media to call to action, his country’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, to deal with the issue of him being constantly stopped by UK immigration upon entry. In response to the accusation by Popcaan that the Prime Minister and the Jamaica police knew why this had been happening, the JCF’s press statement attributed Popcaan’s situation to an Interpol green notice alerting authorities to his alleged arrest for cocaine possession in 2011, and a conviction for marijuana possession in 2009, both in Barbados.
Popcaan’s lawyers have stated that their client has no criminal record in Barbados, saying that the 2009 conviction was expunged and the alleged 2011 arrest was false and “fictitious.” Their lawsuit claims that the press release was “calculated and/or intended” to injure, degrade, and/or malign Popcaan, by “exposing him to hatred, contempt, and ridicule.”
Popcaan is seeking general damages, damages for defamation, interest, legal costs, and any further relief that the Court may deem fit.
Bert Samuels said Popcaan has been the subject of slander on social media since the JCF press release, including references to the artist as being a “cokehead”.
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