Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 28th 2013 Contents A10
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The Industrial Court has awarded
$600,000 to former Trinidad
Express journalist Darryl Heeralal
for wrongful dismissal.
On June 29, 2009, Heeralal was
dismissed for failing to reveal the
source of a story he had submitted
to editor-in-chief Omatie Lyder.
Heeralal sued the company after
he was dismissed.
The story concerned a probe into
a shootout between police and bandits
in Wallerfield in August 2007, in
which Wendy Courtney, the mother
of five, was among five people killed
A group of Northern Division police
were on patrol along the Churchill-
Roosevelt Highway, near Agua Santa
Drive, Wallerfield, when they inter-
cepted a car carrying four men.
There was a shootout and a stray
bullet struck Courtney as she lay in
her bedroom, killing her instantly.
Heeralal was dismissed after he
refused to reveal his source to Lyder
when the police officers sued the
Express for defamation after their
matter was dismissed after a prelim-
In his evidence, Heeralal said in
refusing to reveal his source he had
expressed concern to Lyder about
confidentiality within the newsroom
and wanted that issue addressed
before he would reveal his source.
Justifying his approach, he said:
"An entire arm of national security
could have been compromised and
there were death threats."
The company argued that the
employee had failed to comply with
a legitimate instruction and therefore
there was a loss of trust.
However, the court yesterday ruled
the reasons for dismissal were "not
valid," given the circumstances of the
case, and that Heeralal "was denied
the basic principles of a fair oppor-
tunity to be heard."
The Banking, Insurance and Gen-
eral Workers Union (BIGWU), which
is the bargaining body for print jour-
nalists, asked the court for Heeralal
to be reinstated or be granted damages
of $750,000. But the court did not
award the full amount.
Speaking afterwards, Heeralal said
while he was pleased about the ruling,
he wanted the opportunity to clear
his name, which he had built during
his 11 years at the newspaper.
He said the judgment showed a
publisher was not in any position to
force journalists to reveal their sources.
He added: "Trinidad is one of the
very few places where freedom of
the press is constitutionally enshrined.
The meat of journalism is sources. If
a journalist has to be forced to reveal
his sources, then journalists will stand
Opposition MP Colm Imbert is expected to pres-
ent a motion dealing with public procurement for
debate when the House of Representatives meets
Today has been set aside for debate on matters
brought by the Opposition.
Imbert s motion asks the House to express its dis-
approval over the Government s failure to implement
and enact a new legal regulatory framework for the
public sector procurement.
Two questions also are listed for oral answer.
One is from Opposition MP Patricia McIntosh
about the date for the resumption of a bus service
from Port-of-Spain to Cascade.
Transport Minister Chandresh Sharma is expected
to answer that question.
The second is to Gender, Youth and Child Devel-
opment Minister Marlene Coudray about the opening
of the St James Youth Centre.
The sitting begins at 1.30 pm at Tower D, Waterfront
Complex, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.
...for protecting his source
motion in House today
Former Express reporter Darryl
Heeralal leaves the Industrial Court,
St Vincent Street, Port-of-spain,
after winning judgement against
One Caribbean Media, the parent
company of the paper, yesterday.
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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