SHEPPARD THROWS HIS HAT IN THE RING
By Bryan Kramer
Last Thursday, Greg Sheppard principal of Young & Williams, filed a formal complaint with Commissioner for Police against me on allegations on defamatory publication on social media under the Cyber Crime Act.
Sheppard’s complaint follows similar complaints filed by the former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his other lawyer George Lau.
O’Neill filed his complaint on 28th October 2019 only to have Sheppard raise it in his Judicial Review proceedings in an effort to convince the National Court to stay the warrant of arrest against him – of course it had no relevance to the proceedings understandably ignored by the Court.
Lau registered his formal complaint on Wednesday 13th November 2019 following his arrest for forgery, uttering and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
An interesting point being, that the day Lau was charged, his own client, O’Neill a former Prime Minister, release a press statement to announce his lawyer had filed a complaint against me. However, Lau didn’t formally file his complaint until 9am the next day.
Lau’s complaint against me also included posting defamatory matters on the internet, as well as alleging I altered an arrest warrant to produce a forged document and engaged in official corruption.
The next day Sheppard joins the bandwagon filing his complaint on allegations of cyber-crime offences.
One may argue it appears to be a co-ordinated effort by O’Neill and his lawyers to have me charged and removed from my position.
Sheppard’s complaint followed his letter to me three days earlier (dated 11th November 2019) threating to initiate defamation proceedings against me in relation to my posts on social media dated 3rd and 10th November 2019.
Now I won’t bore you with the many details of his 5 page letter but instead just highlight the main issues which included:
1) Sheppard acts for Peter O’Neill in certain high-profile cases;
2) he has practiced as a lawyer for 40 years and the last 30 years of which has been an officer of the Supreme and National Courts in Papua New Guinea;
3) he alleges on 3rd November 2019 I published written and photographic material on my Facebook account, which contained spurious allegations including the allegation O’Neill lawyers filed a fake warrant to mislead the Court and made to believe that it is defective;
4) Sheppard contends the term used by me – “O’Neill lawyers” includes him;
5) that I know these allegations were false;
6) my false allegation that O’Neill’s lawyer fabricated was intended by me to and in fact did victimise and unfairly discredit Sheppard and the other lawyers in the firm in which he works and the instructing lawyers (Niuage Lawyers) who engaged them in this matter on 16th October 2019.
7) he claims Young & Williams (Sheppard’s law firm) only became lawyers for O’Neill on 21st October 2019 (as the court record discloses) 5 days after the document by me to be fabricated by other lawyers namely Niuage Lawyers.
8) I ought to have known this and made it clear in my post;
9) my publication is also contemptuous of the Court by reason of the fact Sheppard is an officer of the Court.
“This untrue allegation is highly defamatory, a slur on my reputation, injurious to me and my profession and induced other people to ridicule or despise me. It has caused me and members of my family unnecessary distress for members of my staff,” Sheppard said.
The pertinent question to ask is did any of my publications name or even imply Greg Sheppard or his firm fabricated the warrant of arrest?
Short answer is No.
So what evidence does Sheppard provide to sustain his claims my publication was intended to victimise and unfairly discredit him or induce others to ridicule and despise him?
Short answer is None – other than his own misconceived opinion.
Where it becomes rather amusing is he contradicts himself by stating Young & Williams only became lawyers for O’Neill on 21st October 2019, 5 days later – only to acknowledge two paragraphs later he was engaged by Niuage Lawyers and instructed to act in this matter 5 days earlier on 16th October 2019.
It appears Sheppard’s principle argument is what I ought to have done and that is to make it clear he was not the lawyer who filed a fake warrant to mislead the Court and made to believe that it is defective.
With that in mind one might argue being a lawyer of 40 years he ought to have known the documents he was relying on to convince the National to grant a stay were false and fabricated.
The information sheet was unsigned and unsealed, the warrant of arrest was unticked, and the statement of facts included only two sentences.
A further point of contention being why a lawyer of 40 years who previously acted for the former Prime Minister being engaged by an unknown law firm who operate from a residential home in the back streets of Tokarara? An issue we will discuss further in a subsequent article to come.
Sheppard ought to have checked with District Court Registry to establish the authenticity of the documents, he ought to have asked his client where the documents were obtained from.
He ought to have assisted the Court when the Acting Commissioner filed a sworn affidavit producing the original copy of the warrant of arrest issued to Police, including the signed and sealed copy of the information and complete statement of facts.
I’m informed he instead remained silent.
Other than what I have ought to have done Sheppard contends my allegations are false.
So what is Sheppard’s defence or evidence offered that the warrant was not fabricated or Fake?
He contends that when Detective Senior Constable Kila Tali made an application to District Court to withdraw the warrant of arrest, he filed an affidavit attaching a copy of warrant of arrest submitted by O’Neill’s lawyers.
“Further, the copy of the warrant of arrest that you published on your Facebook page as FAKE is in fact a copy of the exact unticked document the Detective Senior Officer Kila Tali (Police Officer in possession of actual warrant swore to be true copy of warrant of arrest which he tendered under oath),” Sheppard said.
So is Sheppard a lawyer of 40 years correct?
Short answer is No. Detective Tali simply attached the copy of the fake warrant to assist the District Court insofar as to inform the Magistrate what transpired in the National Court . He swore under oath it was a true copy of the warrant of arrest that O’Neill and his lawyers produced and relied on to obtain a stay and claimed it was defective.
Sheppard goes to make the point I allowed my followers to publish defamatory comments against him on my account and allowed them to remain there without correction or clarification.
He says one of my followers has suggested that he (Sheppard) continues “to play marbles with the PNG legal system and he needs to be skinned alive and given to the dogs.”
He says being a Minister of State and Member of Parliament with a wide and trusted circulation of my publicity I have incited such comments and therefore liable for them.
Let me get this straight, Sheppard a lawyer of 40 years feels victimised, distressed and unfairly discredited because a person made the comment he continues to play marbles with the PNG legal system?
I would expect a child to take issue with such comments, not a lawyer of 40 years and principal of the country’s top legal firm.
So what evidence does Sheppard provide to establish I incited such comments or the comment was directed to him?
Again, short answer None.
Did I publish them? No – were the comments made with my knowledge and authority?
However on account Mr. Sheppard states he feels victimized over them I took the time to search each and every comment on my account only to find one offensive comment directed to him which I removed.
Where it gets rather embarrassing is where Sheppard states he respectfully recommends I draw his letter to the attention of a lawyer as soon as I receive it and ask them to contact him (Sheppard) immediately.
He then states in a genuine effort to compromise this matter between ourselves out of court he offers that I retract my publication and publish a written apology provided by him which he attached to his letter. Further that each party bear their own costs and the offer remains open until 18th November 2019.
With due respect this is perhaps the most absurd offer I’ve ever come across more so coming from a lawyer of 40 years practicing law.
I would respectfully suggest Mr. Sheppard take some time to carefully think things through before threatening to take legal action in a case only to end up looking silly for it.
Lastly, I’m happy for this matter to end up in Court so we can establish who ought to have known what they claimed they didn’t – who were party to the conspiracy to deceive the Court and being an officer of the Court what they ought to have been known and done.
A fact that can’t be denied is that following my articles a senior officer in the Court Registry and O’Neill’s lawyer have been arrested and formally charged on forgery, uttering and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
(Photo used from manusleaks.wordpress.com)