The Editor in Chief of the Kaieteur News Adam Harris and reporter Rehanna Ramsay were on Friday charged for contempt of court after a report in the Kaieteur Newspaper forced Justice Brassington Reynolds to declare a mistrial in a murder case that was presently before him.
Harris was fined $150,000 and his reporter Rehanna Ramsay was fined $50,000 on the contempt charge. The fines have already been paid. The Judge filed the charges against the two after the newspaper carried details of the voir dire of the murder trial.
A voir dire is a trial within a trial that is conducted without the jury’s presence. It is mostly conducted to ascertain specific facts in a case and whether those facts would be admissible during the trial. The details of the voir dire are not made public since those details could prejudice the case.
The Kaieteur News on Friday morning reported on its own failings, describing the action by the reporter and Editor as irresponsible. The newspaper said “a case of total lack of knowledge of the judicial system, an ignorance of what a voir dire is, and poor editing and management by Kaieteur News led to a murder trial being aborted”.
Kaieteur News is one of three independent daily newspapers in Guyana. It has wide circulation and is believed to be the most circulated newspaper in Guyana.