By a Special Correspondent
LONDON, England – A Georgia Superior Court judge entered a “Default Judgment Order” on November 20, against Beresford Mack and Dr Isaac Newton based on their numerous violations of court orders, including an order of criminal contempt. As a result, Mack and Dr Newton are liable for tortious interference and defamation, among other claims, against Mohammed Asaria and Range Developments. A hearing will be held to determine damages and injunctive relief.
The case concerns an attempt by the defendants to defame Mohammed Asaria and Range Developments, a developer of luxury hotels in the Caribbean, in June last year. The Court ruled that the defendants had “acted willfully and deliberately” when failing to comply with the Court’s numerous orders – a total of five times. The Court also found at an earlier hearing that Mack’s testimony was “evasive” when asked about the identity of the client he was working for.
The story began when Asaria woke up in the Kempinski Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland to media reports that he had been arrested and detained in China. One of the first articles to run this damaging story was published on a website called MNI Alive. Jeevan Robinson, the editor, was contacted by Asaria’s legal team to alert him that the article was not only incorrect but defamatory.
Robinson later revealed in an affidavit that the article was a ‘sponsored story’, where Mack had contacted him to run the story, working on behalf of Isaac Newton. Robinson said that he had full trust and confidence in Mack as a senior media person, so he did not think twice to question that Mack had another agenda.
“I need to send you a story I am working on for a client. It’s a story over in Asia, (China to be exact),” Mack had written to Robinson. After publishing the story, and being warned that it was inaccurate, Robinson immediately contacted Mack.
Mack then revealed that Dr Newton was responsible for the contents of the story, and that it came from a “Chinese billionaireness” who had an issue with Asaria.
Robinson then requested from Mack full evidence to verify that the story was true to answer Asaria’s legal team. Mack promised to send him a video proving the veracity of the story, but this never materialised. Despite numerous attempts to call Mack, he stopped responding. Emails also went unanswered.
Robinson soon realised that there was no such video or evidence. “By June 5, 2018, I was convinced that the contents of the article were untrue,” said Robinson. “I had not received any “video” of the arrest and Mack himself asked me to “pull” the story.”
Mohammed Asaria said that the court ruling justified his attempts to protect his and his company’s reputation.
“Range Developments will protect its market leading position and will not be deterred by business rivals in China or anywhere else making defamatory remarks or articles that try to harm our business,” said Asaria. “While extremely damaging at the time, these allegations have failed to deter our staff or investors, who continue to support our projects at the Park Hyatt St Kitts, the Cabrits Resort & Spa, Dominica, and the recently launched Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada.”