Editor of Standard Times has, in his yesterday edition, finally replied to a letter from J.B. Jenkins-Johnston, Esq about his Libel of mother of Dr. Sylvia Blyden. According to Philip Neville, he never meant to disrespect Mrs. S.E.J. Blyden or her husband Edward W. B. Blyden, by impugning the fatherhood of their daughter with contents of his article entitled as: ĎShe is Not the Daughter of Her Fatherí. Instead, Neville says, his article was not meant to embarrass Blyden family but to ďflick the thinking capĒ. However, Nevilleís Ďexplanationsí were all described as ďgarbageĒ yesterday by every single person who contacted this paper including prominent Creole citizens. Please¬†see below¬†to draw your conclusion.
Factually, Mrs. Sylvia E.J. Blyden has, in the past, been subjected to many unprovoked¬†libelous attacks from Neville [all of which might soon be subjects of legal proceedings] whilst Dr. Sylvia Blyden reports that she does not even know who is Nevilleís mother let alone to write of his mother; which she has never done.
Sylviaís father, like his ancestors, is known NOT to place premium on Creole ethnic consciousness. He raised all his children thus. Babatunde Blyden told this press yesterday that he does not recall ever advising Philip Neville about Creoles.
Finally, contrary to repeated claim of Neville, Hon. S.A.J. Pratt is not living in an Old Peopleís Home in London. On the contrary, at the age of 91 years, he is agile in his residence from where he regularly goes to meet with members of the British Royalty; him being the most Senior West African Freemason in the UK. Our High Commission in UK inform that Hon. S.A.J. Pratt graced their recent 50th Anniversary Gala where he was publicly honoured by H.E. Eddie Turay.
RE: LIBEL IN YOUR NEWSPAPER
Your letter dated 16th¬†May 2011, relating to the publications of 19th¬†April 2011, 20th¬†April 2011, and 3rd¬†May 2011 respectively was received and contents read and understood.
In the publication of 15th¬†April 2011 at Page 14 under the Column SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT, Captioned ďShe is not the daughter of her fatherĒ. You drew my attention to the following lines
ďAmong the journalists in Sierra Leone I consider myself the most appropriate to reply Sylvia Blyden in the case of Maada Bioís case and any other one because I know that she is not the daughter of her father, and when the time comes if she persists in doing what she has engaged in I will tell the world her true biological father and why she is behaving the way she isÖ
With regards this commentary, it was interpreted out of context, which needs further clarification from the author
I am sure most of us (Creole) clearly understand the proverbial interpretation of these words. When a childís behavior is different and inconsistent with that of his/her father especially when the behavior of the father is one that is generally acceptable by society, and members of the society are expecting to see from the offspring the good behavioral symptoms of the father.
Those of us who know the father of Sylvia Blyden (Mr. Blyden) are left in extreme surprise to see the daughter of a well composed figure behaving in direct contrast to her father.
To buttress my interpretation that she is behaving absolutely different from what is expected from the traits of her father, the following assertion was made ďAmong the Journalists in Sierra Leone I consider myself the most appropriate to reply Sylvia BlydenÖ.because I know that she is not the daughter of her fatherĒ
My proximity to the family, especially the father started when I was a reporter of the Weekend Spark Newspaper and most of the time Mr. Blyden would come to our office at Lamina Sankoh Street and engaged me in lengthy discussion that bother (sic) on ethnic lines and would advised that as a small boy, belonging to this minority group in the country, we should endeavour to preserve our identity and not behave in a way that would bring shame and disgrace to this minority group of men and women.
If somebody like Mr. Blyden is conscious about his background and origin and would proffer advise to people like us, we are expecting that his daughter should be a symbol of emulation and not one whose root should be mis-represented or mis-interpreted
It is in this vein that those comments were published, not to embarrass the family or to raise doubt, but to flick the thinking cap of the daughter that she has an origin, which she should preserve and cherish, thus the following words were said ďÖif she persist in doing what she has engaged in, I will tell the world her true biological father and why she is behaving the way she isÖĒ
The concept ďBiologicalĒ again has been misconstrued to mean something different. If I had published that Mr. Blyden was not the one who fathered Sylvia Blyden that would have required a DNA examination to prove the true identity and father of this child, but the use of biological should not be reduced to anything suspicious and offensive.
If the interpretation has been linked to, what is not on the mind of the author let it now be made clear that it should not be construed in that direction. A case of DNA proof is not the focus of the author at the time of the publication and even now. At the time of her (Sylvia Blyden) birth Mr. Blyden was introduced to her as her father, and I wish to state that I am not contesting that. Any proof contrary to that notion should be done by the child if she is not satisfied with him.
In the publication of 3rd¬†May 2011 at Page 12 under the same Column authored by the same author, the following words were published¬† ďÖIt may be true that her Grandfather Mr. SAJ Pratt who is currently an occupant in one of the Old Peopleís Home in London and receiving handout from the British Government has failed to show and explain the role of certain important people in Sylvia Blydenís life, like the late Justice William Johnson (not Robert) a Regentonian who worked as a Master and Registrar of the High Court and was promoted to a High Court Judge and then to a Judge of the Appellate Court and later suffered death in London. Sylvia Blyden would have been proud of this name than what she is roaming the streets of Freetown and addressing herself withÖ
The fact relating to her Grand father staying in London in one of the Old Peopleís Home can not be denied. Also, the fact that Mr. SAJ Pratt is Sylvia Blydenís Grand father from her maternal lineage can not be ignored. The fact that Mr. SAJ Pratt is a proud son of the Regent Village can also not be challenged.
Reference to the late Justice William Johnson, being a Regentonian is undisputable and at the time Sylvia Blyden was born, the late Justice William Johnson was alive. He is one of the few personalities of the Regent Village that Society had respect for when he was alive.
From a humble beginning, he grew up and became a significant figure in society (High Court Judge), until hands of death snatched him away from this earth.
These are symbols in a village setting that every child wants to be in future. Also, these are individuals in a village setting who want to see every child born in a village grows up and become somebody of importance. Because of their desire and ambition to see children born in a village setting get to their climax, they contribute generously in the upbringing of these children, and the late William Johnson was a typical example of a village elder who worked towards that goal. Unfortunately he died too soon due to illness.
Village elders play significant roles in the upbringing of children born and bred in their midst, therefore, the reference made to the late Justice William Johnson was done as a pointer to showcase his contribution to the development of children born at the Regent Village during his time, which should not be constructed negatively or otherwise. For example, I would want my child to proud of a popular, prominent and conservative legal practitioner in Sierra Leone in the person of J.B Jenkins Johnston Esq.
The reference to Lawyer J.B Jenkins does not in any way signifies that he fathered my child, but out of admiration and the way he has comported himself in society and his contribution to the development of children in his village.
One of the role/values of Grand parents is to explain to their Grand Children important figures (both past and present) of their village, and it is in this direction the name Mr. SAJ Pratt was mentioned as a Grandfather to Sylvia Blyden who may have explained the contributions of key figures of the village including the late Justice Johnson, not in anyway conspirational.
As I indicated, children are proud of important figures of their village, especially those who play relevant roles in the development and growth of their village, sometimes they want to be addressed by those names as it makes them feel proud and emulate their good and fine example and be icon in society. The late Justice William Johnson is one such individual.
JENKINS-JOHNSTON and CO.
COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS AND NOTARY PUBLIC
AYOTUNDE CHAMBERS, 4 PERCIVAL STREET, FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE
TO: MR. PHILIP NEVILLE
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Standard Times Publications,
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2A Ascension Town Road,
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Kingtom Bridge, Freetown.
Date: 16th¬†May 2011
Re: LIBEL IN YOUR NEWSPAPER
We act for and on behalf of Mrs. Sylvia E.J Blyden, wife of Mr. Babatunde Blyden, both of whom are the Parents of Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden, Publisher of Awareness Times Newspaper.
Our Client has instructed us to write to you in connection with certain articles which appeared in your Newspaper on the 19th¬†April 2011, 20th¬†April 2011 and 3rd¬†May 2011 respectively.
(a) In the Publication of 19th¬†April 2011 at page 14 thereof, under the title,
ďSOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT Ė by Philip Neville,
ďShe is not the daughter of her FatherÖĒ
You stated as follows,
ďAmong the Journalists in Sierra Leone I consider myself the most appropriate to reply Sylvia Blyden in the Maada Bioís case and any other one because I KNOW THAT SHE IS NOT THE DAUGHTER OF HER FATHER, and when the time comes if she persists in doing what she has engaged in I will tell the world her true and biological father and why she is behaving the way she isÖ.Ē
(b) In the Publication of 20th¬†April 2011 at pages 14 and 19 thereof, you repeated the same sub-title
ďShe is not the daughter of her FatherĒ, and repeated the words set out in (a) above ďipsissima verba.Ē
(c) In the Publication of 3rd¬†May 2011, at Page 12 thereof, under the title ďSomething to think aboutĒ by Philip Neville, and sub-titled ďA Monster goes for excellence awardĒ, you stated as follows;
ďÖ.it may be true that her Grandfather SAJ Pratt who is currently an occupant in one of the Old Peopleís Home in London and receiving handout from the British Government has failed to show and explain the role of certain important people in Sylvia Blydenís life, like the late Justice Robert Johnson a Regentonian who worked as Master and Registrar of The High Court and was promoted to a High Court Judge and then to a Judge of the Appellate Court and later suffered death in London. Sylvia Blyden would have been proud of this name than what she is roaming the streets of Freetown and addressing herself withÖ.Ē
It is our Clientís contention that the words complained of in (a) and (b) above, meant and were intended by you to mean that our Client, being a married woman at the time of her daughter (Sylviaís) birth had committed adultery and that her daughter (Sylvia) had been born as a result of the said adultery by another man, instead of by her biological father, Mr. Babatunde Blyden.
It is further our Clientís contention that the words complained of in (c) above meant and were intended by you to mean that our Client, being a married woman at the time of her daughter (Sylviaís) birth had committed adultery with the Late Justice William Johnson and that her daughter (Sylvia) was a product of that adulterous relationship, and further that our Clientís father Solomon A.J. Pratt Esq. was aware of the fact of Sylvia being a product of the adulterous relationship between our Client (a married woman) and the late Justice Johnson (a married man) and had not told her (Sylvia) of her true origin.
It is our Clientís contention that all statements contained in (a), (b) and (c) above are a gross and malicious libel, not only imputing (falsely) adultery on the part of our Client Mrs. Sylvia E.J. Blyden (a married woman,) but also imputing adultery on the part of the late Justice Johnson (a married man,) and Conspiracy on the part of Hon. Solomon A.J. Pratt, father of our Client.
We are to state in no uncertain terms that all your allegations are false, unfounded, malicious and cruel in the extreme, not only to our Client and her husband, but also to the family of the late Justice Johnson, none of whom have offended you in anyway.
We therefore hereby, as a first step, demand from you the following:
(1) A full and unqualified apology for, and withdrawal of, the imputations contained in the three (3) Publications of your said Newspaper of 19th¬†April 2011, 20th¬†April, and 3rd¬†May 2011, such apology to be published in a conspicuous part of THE STANDARD TIMES NEWSPAPER, the form of such apology to be submitted to us for approval.
(2) An Undertaking not to continue the Publication of the said statements or any further defamatory statements of and concerning Mrs. Sylvia E.J Blyden;
(3) An Indemnity in respect of such Costs so far incurred, plus a substantial sum for Compensation [so far undetermined,] for the gross and malicious libel against our Client, being a married woman of over 40 years, and the consequent damage to her reputation, character and family, which you so wantonly committed in your Newspaper which has wide local and international circulation on the Internet.
We demand that all above in (1), (2) and (3) must be done within Seven (7) days from the date hereof, failing which we shall be left with no alternative but to issue out a Writ of summons against you with a claim for Punitive and/or Aggravated Damages for Libel.
C.C. (1) Mrs. Sylvia E.J. Blyden ( London )
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† (2) Mr. Babatunde Blyden ( London )
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† (3) Hon. S.A.J. Pratt Esq. ( London )