Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 27th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Tuesday, October 27, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 26TH OCTOBER, 2015
The legal victory gained by Therese Ho,
the woman who sued cricketer Lendl Sim-
mons in a "revenge porn" case will benefit
This was the view of Executive Director of
the Women's Institute for Alternative Devel-
opment (WINAD) Folade Mutota.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Mutota
said she was glad the court had upheld the
rights of women.
"We all gained because she was sufficiently
firm in her view that her rights had been tram-
pled on," Mutota said.
The landmark ruling was handed down by
Port of Spain High Court Justice Frank Seep-
Seepersad said "the treatment of women as
mere objects of pleasure was offensive, deroga-
tory, antiquated, has no place in society and
is indicative of the general lack of respect.
"We must ask ourselves, how are we to build
a developed nation when we encourage and
Ho is one of many women in this country
to have seen personal intimate photos published
to a wider audience that intended.
Fashion designer and former Miss T&T Anya
Ayoung-Chee and media personality Ashleia
Baksh were both victims of similar situations.
But while their fame launched them into
the spotlight, not-so-famous women, like Ho,
are also at risk to personal environment from
Most recently, a woman posted a status on
Facebook alleging that private photos on her
mobile device was published online by a worker
in a mobile repair store.
Mutota commended Ho for being brave and
confident enough to take the matter to court.
"Women have struggled with this for a long
time but this ruling has immediately signalled
the way for women to respond in the future."
Asked whether the ruling would make a sig-
nificant impact, Mutota said this would only
happen if a collective stand was taken by more
Yesterday Acting Attorney General Stuart
Young, when asked about the case, and Seep-
ersad's comment that current legislation was
archaic, said the Cyber Crime Bill, introduced
to Parliament last year, would be a part of the
new government's legislative agenda.
Keep your sex lives in the bed-
room and not on camera.
This was the advice given by
Therese Ho, the 24-year-old for-
mer girlfriend of T&T and West
Indies cricketer Lendl Simmons
after she awarded $150,000 in
compensation in her lawsuit
against him for disseminating
photographs of them engaged in
a sexual encounter after their brief
relationship ended in 2013.
The case, the first of its kind
to be heard by local courts, is
expected to be used as a precedent
for other victims seeking recourse
against people who leak their per-
sonal photos on the Internet.
Speaking at her lawyers' office
at Richmond Street, Port-of-
Spain, yesterday, an emotional
Ho warned: "Don't take pictures.
Don't trust anyone. Both men
and women must stop. There
must be an end to it."
Asked about her decision to file
the lawsuit knowing that her per-
sonal relationship would be
exposed in the public, Ho said
she took the difficult decision
with her two young daughters in
"As a mother of two young
girls, it is my duty to ensure that
they will grow up in a place where
a woman and her character is not
under attack by those around
her...Women shouldn't be smeared
because of a ruined relationship
or something that went sour," Ho
Asked if she felt the compen-
sation awarded by Justice Frank
Seepersad in the landmark judg-
ment was sufficient, Ho said no.
"Honestly, no amount of
money, none whatsoever, would
be able to compensate me for all
the trials and tribulations that I
have gone through. Up to this day
my kids ask me, mummy we saw
you in the papers and we know
what it was about because we
looked it up in the dictionary?'
So now I have the challenge where
I would need to sit down and
speak to them when they get a
little older and explain exactly
what happened to me," Ho
Despite her warnings and her
own traumatic experience, Ho
maintained she did not regret her
relationship with Simmons or for
allowing him to take the photo-
"I wouldn't say I regret because
what has happened to me has
made me a stronger person. It
has taught me strength and for-
giveness and has strengthened
me to be a better person," Ho said
as she claimed she had forgiven
Simmons for his actions.
"At this stage I do find forgive-
ness and have reached the stage
now where I am willing to let go
and forgive him for what he has
She also called on the Govern-
ment to take steps to amend leg-
islation to consider revenge porn
and other forms of harassment
on social media.
Ho filed the lawsuit last year
after Simmons sent a series of
photographers to a group of her
friends. The lawsuit centered
around whether Simmons
breached the confidentiality of
their relationship by releasing the
In his defence, Simmons had
claimed that there was no con-
fidentiality attached to their rela-
tionship, which he deemed
"strictly sexual" and admitted
that he only decided to send the
photos after she (Ho) had sent
them to his then fiance and now
In his 18-page judgement,
Seepersad rejected Simmons'
claims and ruled that he believed
Ho's versions of the events over
Simmons'. He also questioned
why Simmons did not ask his
wife to testify to buttress his case,
as she would be able to attest to
whether Ho began disseminating
the photos, thus absolving him
(Simmons) of some responsibility.
"The behaviour of the defen-
dant cannot be condoned and
demonstrated a flagrant disregard
for the feelings, emotion and dig-
nity of the claimant with whom
he shared sexual relations. The
Court was alarmed by the manner
in which the defendant viewed
the claimant as an object and his
statement as contained in the
messages that "she was just a f-
--' " is unacceptable.
"The treatment of women as
mere objects of pleasure is offen-
sive, derogatory, antiquated, has
no place in a civilised society and
is indicative of the general lack of
respect," Seepersad said.
As he scolded Simmons for his
actions, Seepersad said his con-
duct was especially bad because
of his role as an international
"It is rather unfortunate that a
young and talented cricketer like
the defendant behaved in such a
manner. Upon the shoulders of
those who hold positions of
power, prestige and publicity there
rests an onerous responsibility to
adhere to the highest standards
of moral and civilised conduct,
especially since the nation's chil-
dren look towards them to set the
standard of acceptable conduct,"
As part of his ruling, Seepersad
issued an injunction stopping
Simmons from further dissem-
inating the photos and ordered
that the copies used in the case
be immediately destroyed.
Seepersad noted that he was
forced to interpret archaic local
laws in an attempt to find a just
result in the case as revenge porn
was not covered in any local leg-
"The instant case reinforces
this court's belief that it cannot
confine itself to a myopic view of
the law and in the absence of leg-
islative protection, the common
law concept of breach of confi-
dence has to be moulded so as to
address modern societal
demands," he said.
Stating that local laws were
slow to evolve with the increased
use of social media internationally,
Seepersad suggested that Parlia-
ment should put cyber crime laws
high on their legislative agenda.
"Photographs uploaded onto
the Internet can be retrieved for-
ever. The impact upon an indi-
vidual's privacy is tremendous
and the absence of clear and
cohesive legislation to protect our
citizens' privacy and to punish
those who violate the rights of
others can cause us to descend
into a bottomless pit of
anarchy...The time for legislative
intervention is long overdue,"
Ho was represented by Lemuel
Murphy, Naveen Maraj and Chris-
tian Chandler, while Ken Wright
appeared for Simmons. Simmons
has to weeks to decide whether
he will appeal the judgment.
Online revenge act still hurts Simmons' ex
'Don't trust anyone'
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