Dunkley Sues Bean Over Facebook Comments

November 4, 2013 | 93 Comments

dunkley beanDeputy Premier and Minister of Public Safety Michael Dunkley has launched legal action against Opposition Leader Marc Bean over comments made on the social network Facebook.

The comments are understood to have been posted in late September 2013 on a political Facebook page, with the conversation initially started with a post discussing comments made by Minister Dunkley about drug testing MPs.

The comments — which appear to still be publicly accessible on Facebook –started out with Mr Bean saying the “this motion is solely the doings of Minister Dunkley [the irony].”

It went on to say, “If, the motion is about standards, then it should be based on being honourable [being honest]. That said, we should have lie detector test as a start. Lord knows we would not have a sitting Parliament.”

The Opposition Leader also said MPs “are not angels, far from it,” and made a number of other comments, including a reference to the video made by former Police Officer Larry Smith, in which he discussed the past case which saw two men convicted of drug charges.

In 2005, two men were jailed after being convicted of trying to smuggle drugs in through a Dunkley’s container. Minister Dunkley is reported to have assisted the police in the investigation, and also served as a key prosecution witness.

After the video appeared, the police released an official statement in 2007 saying: “Contrary to a published video feed that is presently appearing on the website YouTube by ex Superintendent Larry Smith, the matters that he is referring to in the case of the Crown vs. Flood and Madeiros were fully investigated and adjudicated in a court of law and as far as the Bermuda Police Service is concerned, that matter is officially closed.”

It is understood that there may have been some form of communication between the two parties about the comments prior to the legal action, and after it was not resolved, Minister Dunkley is said to have started some form of legal action for defamation, with the papers being filed a few days ago.

The Opposition has a number of lawyers among their ranks, and unofficial reports suggest Mr Bean may be receiving legal advice from within the party.

As people continue to turn more to digital communications, legal issues surrounding online and social media comments are becoming more common both around the world and in Bermuda.

Past situations involving Facebook include a police officer attempting to take action following comments made on Facebook by a leading local lawyer, and a recent court case seeing a man charged for allegedly trying to solicit young girls on Facebook.

During a Supreme Court trial for attempted murder an 84 page printout of the victim’s Facebook page was produced and part of the cross examination centered on how many “friends” the victim had on Facebook.

In addition, there was the recent situation where an MP claimed her Facebook page was hacked and the police were investigating, and of course the now infamous situation where an escaped prisoner updated his Facebook while on the run.

For anyone interested in the possible legal ramifications of posting on social media, an article we posted last year [which has no direct relevance to this case or any other] offers an overview provided by a local lawyer.

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Comments (93)

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  1. It happens, that is why I tell people --- be careful of what post on the internet

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    • Betty Trump says:

      I am not surprise by this recent step of Mr. Dunkley. But several Questions come to mind in this regards.

      Most important Question is Why was the real person making such claims (Mr. Smith) not sued by Mr. Dunkley, after all his video seems to reveal a great deal? If I was Mr. Dunkley I would be more concern by the allegations made in the video, rather than some minor comments made by Mr. Bean. I can not understand his realization or is it merely "Political Strategy" to destroy favor that is moving in Mr. Bean's direction? Remember Political strategy is always at work within the OBAubp. They are working for votes now, for the next election.

      Why was the same concern was not expressed pre-election over some of the comments made by his OBAubp supporters, which may have also seemed to appear extremely inflamamary? I think one can go back and review some of the comments, and it would appear as if everyone made a remark that can fall in the line of inflammary, particulary towards Dr. Brown, Cox and other PLP members. But seldom did they attempt to sue anyone for such remarks, members. Guess they are aware that in this political arena this is apart of the fire.

      This is not necessary, after all this is often standard political poking and banter that goes on with in the political arena, from time to time. It seems more like a waste of time, and a bit tit over-reactionary, irrelevant, and trifling, by Mr. Dunkely.

      Why has Mr. Dunkely failed to address the questions posed in the comment? If one does not like the heat in the kitchen of game of politics, one needs to get out. This seems a bit child-like, or is there a level of possible guilt going on here in regards to Mr. Dunkely? Why not sue for the real comments made in the video by Mr. Smith whom seems to say a great deal and reveal much.

      Nevertheless, Looks like there will be a great deal of money for lawyers to make, if person continue in this same vein.

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      • Hmmm says:

        "Remember Political strategy is always at work within the OBAubp. They are working for votes now, for the next election" by Betty Trump

        I believe the PLP are the ones trying to score points to win votes, you must have the parties mixed up, just go read any PLP press release on Bernews, IMHO, you'll be able to interpret point scoring attempts, Whereas the OBA are busy working to get Bermuda back on it's feet.

        ps
        I think Mr Dunkley at a personal level has the right to choose if he wants to and who to sue. This is not the OBA sueing.

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        • Betty Trump says:

          But if one examines who has really portrayed him a real negative light and appears most damaging to his character, It seems as if the video by Mr. Smith wins out over any Facebook comment. Thus it looks more like OBAubp Political Strategy is at work here...

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          • God Grant me the Serenity - please says:

            Go away Betty Trump. Far far away. Everyone knows Marc Bean's....character including you. Why are you o prepared to sell your soul when you know right from wrong? Where is your moral compadd? Where is your integrity. Who raised you to become such a non compadd mentus? Come on Betty. Right is right and you know full well what the truth really is. Go dhame the devil and please God. At some point I. Life we must face the consequences of our behaviours. Marc made a very poor choice when he decided to do what he did . Now the time for recogning has come. Don't play with fire if you do not want to get burnt. Have some herb - pardon the pun - tea . It is much better for you than that cool aid you are sipping. Betty don't drink no more of that bad for your soul stuff!!!! I am done with you for now do just please go far far far away.

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            • Young Bermudian says:

              Learn to spell before talking your foolishness next time. This is not a political matter, but is being published as such because it might help discredit the PLP. Nothing more, nothing less.

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              • Reas0n says:

                "is being published as such because it might help discredit the PLP"

                If it is true and discredits the PLP, then it is news worthy. Same goes for OBA.

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            • Betty Trump says:

              I will not go away, as it is clear that I have highlighted some key facts, which your having great difficulty in accepting. The reality is this is silly folly and typical behaviors from the OBAubp.

              The video appears to be more damaging than the Facebook comments, why not pursue this 5 years or was it 7 year ago? If it was me, I would be more concern about a video that seems to indicate that I did some wrong doing, and has a long life for all to see.

              This is nothing more than political strategy at work, and an attempt to mark Mr. Bean in a negative light. The comments are made daily in the House of Assembly, the level of debate is not very good, particularly coming from a government whom promised me changed on the door step, yet I fail to see it.

              Money on Lawyers while folks are hurting...on what foolishness and silliness....

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              • Sandy Bottom says:

                Mr Bean doesn't need any help casting himself in a poor light Betty.

                If you tell lies about people you can end up getting sued. Bean needs to take it like a man, not send his servants and lackeys on here to try to defend him.

                And what "money on lawyers" are you talking about? The COH spending Municipal money on lawyers so they can pay themselves, all while people are hurting?

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        • DarkSideofTheMoon says:

          Um both parties are up to tricks...and Betty makes a valid point!

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      • haha says:

        Because ya messing with this mans business (literally) and reputation regarding false accusations.

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        • Beyond2 says:

          That may be all well and good, but the comments(video) was made many years ago. Was the person who made the video sued?

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      • goblowioya says:

        is there ever a day that you don't think politics but rather think of personnel integrity andy fortitude, something that seems lacking, sorry for the big words

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        • Betty Trump says:

          This needs to be asked of the OBAUbp MPS sitting in the house, Have you listen to the remarks of the MPs during the house debates? The quality and level of the debates while doing the people's business has alot to be desired. They are most insulting and degrading during most debates. Guess you do not listen to most debates, and I am sure you will find their Egos are bursting open while in the house of Assembly. Some of the MPs comments are lacking any integrity and often resort to a level of child-like debating.

          Get on with the People's business, this is nothing more than CHild's Play. Folks are hurting and want JOBS, JOBS, give some of that lawyer fees to folks to live and eat...REALLY

          SIlly POLLY

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          • jt says:

            "insulting and degrading"? I listen - and MP responses are better now than over the last decade.

            As for "getting on wtih the people's busisness" - what makes you think Mr. Dunkley isn't? This is a private matter between two individuals.

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        • Big Girl Pants says:

          If you're going to use 'big words' then use them in the right context.
          Reading your remark about 'personnel' integrity, I wasn't sure if you meant PERSONAL integrity or the integrity of employees (personnel).

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          • Betty Trump says:

            Thanks English teacher, at least you did get the message, and I know you got what I meant to say....this entire matter is a waste of time...silly polly and child's play..ahahah

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        • Big Girl Pants says:

          If you're going to use 'big words' then use them in the right context.
          Reading your remark about 'personnel' integrity, I wasn't sure if you meant PERSONAL integrity or the integrity of employees (personnel).

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      • Navin R. Johnson says:

        Betty you seem to be confusing politics and libel......

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        • goblowioya says:

          betty confuses herself more often than not. perhaps she should listen first then comment after digesting what has been said, rather than spurting a dialog of rubbish. I wonder if she is capable of having a conversation that does NOT revolve around politics

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        • Betty Trump says:

          It is politics once your an MP, as the OBAupb do it all the time. Guess your in protection and defend mode now.. blind to it... really ...No mix up, just the facts.

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  2. Navin R. Johnson says:

    I would agree with the lie detector test as a start....ask the previous government if they received any funds other than compensation ....

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  3. Question says:

    I can understand Minister Dunkley's desire to take the matter further; however, unless Mr. Bean clearly stated the Minister's name in a defamatory light, I do not see how the Minister will be successful in his legal bid.

    Further to that point, if Mr. Bean did, in fact, speak about the Minister where it can be proven, he should be held accountable.

    Q

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  4. Watcher55 says:

    This will be interesting, it also opens the gates further for the introduction and issuing od civil law suites against people who post pictures and disparaging remarks on Instagram, Facebook etc. some of which when read we think "how can they get away with that" well they cant, posting an unfounded or unproven remark on social media can carry the same consequences as saying it in a crowded room.

    Thankfully (at this point) we in Bermuda are still responsible for what we say and do (and type)

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  5. swing voter says:

    I have freedom of speech, and can say anything I want....as long as its the truth and I can back it up with evidence....I thought that guy was much smarter than that....and free legal advice is jus that....better off securing a QC or just admit you were out of line and write an apology letter

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    • Betty Trump says:

      The real issue is why is Mr. Dunkley not suing MR. Smith for the video, as that appears to be more damaging than any words spoken by Mr. Bean? I look at it, and found it most revealing. This is merely political strategy at work here by the OBAubp

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      • O'Brien says:

        Does Mr Smith live in Bermuda?

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        • Betty Trump says:

          The video seems to do more harm to Mr. Dunkley's Character than any FACEBOOK remarks could ever do. The video is also ready accessible to folks, and always there as a remainder. This is child's play and silly political twisting as usual by the OBAUbp.I think if I was him, I would address that video is appears more harmful towards one's character if I was truly interested in clearing my name and standing with in the community.

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      • swing voter says:

        Smith is/was protected by his job. it was his duty to question and investigate any possibility of involvement, by anyone including you and I if necessary. Smith is protected from prosecution the same way that hate filled ex-cop blogger in the UK cannot be prosecuted for his idle ramblings on everything Bermudian

        http://www.bermuda.org.uk/

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        • swing voter says:

          http://www.bermudapolice.com/

          @ Trump have u asked why Smith hasn't bothered to pursue his ex-colleague for making suggestive comments about his performance as a senior office? The short answer is that he can't...both ex-police are covered/protected and are allowed to comment on any trial, investigation, or inquiry they were involved in or have direct or indirect knowledge on

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          • Verbal Kint says:

            Thanks for the clarification. I thought that might be the case.

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          • Betty Trump says:

            Thanks for your reply, so Mr. Dunkley is not really seeking out the real person whom seems to have done more damage to him than any silly Facebook comment. REALLY ? Seeking love in all the wrong places...it looks like it...this therefore is Political strategy at work than..nothing more, and nothing less.... SILLY POLLY at work..here....WHERE ARE THE JOBS>> NO ANSWERS FROM THE OBAUBP ...so distraction instead?

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            • swing voter says:

              you know the drill Trump...Ewart got away with the most outrageous comments during parliamentary debates. Had he made similar comments outside of those four walls then .....perhaps you can put 2 and 2 together which will result in a total of 4?

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      • Verbal Kint says:

        That is obvious deflection. Mr. Smith's position as stated in the video does nothing to absolve Marc Bean of any potential defamation. They may well BOTH be in the wrong. As a political opponent and public figure, Mr. Bean has a much larger pulpit, so it is natural that his position would be questioned by Mr. Dunkley.

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        • Betty Trump says:

          Waste of time, but very profitable to the Lawyers, Money would have been better spent on families and folks whom are suffering during this difficult time........................

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          • jt says:

            There is NO government money ivolved in this.

            Perhaps you are confusing it with a case where two members of the former government sued for defamation and charged us for their legal fees?

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          • swing voter says:

            kinda reminds me of other loud and boisterous threats of legal action from your team Trump....only difference is that Michael is going for a slam Dunk....put in terms you might understand, he ain't gonna f*** around, if you gonna sling shyte outside of parliamentary priveledged bounderies, be prepared for it to u-turn on you. shyte don't roll uphill

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          • Hmmm says:

            For something that is as you put it Betty a "Waste of time", you sure have spent a number of hours commenting on it over the media boards.

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      • Reas0n says:

        So the PLP is allowed 'political strategy', but not the OBA?

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    • George says:

      Freedom of speech doesn't allow you to slander or libel (defame) someone else regardless of the circumstance!

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  6. cmbbda says:

    Good - Outrageous... on Marc Bean's part.

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  7. Toodle-oo says:

    Another classic case of 'look over there , look over there , not here'

    It's laughable how members of the PLP and many of its supporters have tried to implicate Mr Dunkley in this particular court case and seemingly wont let it go.
    Over the last 19 years or so I can recall three cases of drug importation involving large Mills Creek located companies where the guilty parties (employees) tried to sneak in stuff piggybacked to company containers.
    Never , not once , did anyone suggest that the company or management of the companies was involved.

    A late Police Commissioner stated a long time ago that good money does not like to be soiled with bad . Pity more people don't want to believe that , or just don't understand what it means .

    I think all of us know what Mr Bean's motives and reasons are but to speak of what is pretty much common knowledge here would result in the comments being heavily censored .

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    • Betty Trump says:

      Another classic case of ‘look over there , look over there , not here’... place the blame card on PLP, as Sir John Swan says this card is old.....

      It’s laughable how members of the OBAubp and many of its supporters have tried to implicated Dr.Brown and other members of the PLP to every possible thing in Bermuda, but yet overlook when their own MPs could be involved in some sinister situation. Many seem not to let go of anything the PLP MPs do on most days. Always trying to link them to most thing, even if they do not have any real evident.

      I think all of us know what Mr. Dunkley motives and reasons are but to speak of what is pretty much common knowledge here would result in the comments being heavily censored. We know that it is possible to that the OBAubp Political strategy at work here to damage Mr. Bean's character, as he is growing more popular each day!

      The reality is when one seeks to sue someone over a Facebook comment, it often speaks to the......

      In that case I would have had about 100 persons to sue if every time someone defames me on Facebook or Bernews. I sure would make the Lawyers richer..

      REALLY Silly POlly going on, lets get back to some serious issues facing our people. JOBS, JOBSREALLY SILLY POLLY at work .....

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      • jt says:

        A full police investiagtion was completed in this matter.

        When a forensic audit of the last 8 years of PLP government is done I'll be just as satisfied in the innocence of those concerned. Until then....smoke indicates fire.

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  8. tricks are for kids.... says:

    ......And yet we have so much more pressing matters to deal with on this island......wow.......

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    • Concerned Citizen says:

      I agree, can we get back to the real issues please?

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      • Verbal Kint says:

        More deflection, as to be expected from the various Bettys.

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      • Verbal Kint says:

        You seem to be overlooking the fact that the leader of the opposition took time out of his busy day addressing real issues to post this on a facebook page. Who needs to get back to real issues?

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        • Betty Trump says:

          Guess your in the dark..... Mr. Dunkley also comments on Facebook as well, guess he also took time out of his busy day addressing many issues on Facebook as well... Guess he also needs to stay focus on REAL ISSUES rather than petty stuff such as this... I have an idea, why not give up some monies folks that are suffering...rather than lawyer fees... REALLY see now how silly it gets...or is your one-sided view blocking you..

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  9. Scoalsy says:

    The former UBP and the present OBA have always been for drug testing on its party members and the PTP (PLP) have always been against, hummm?

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  10. Gopher says:

    Why is he suing Marc Bean? Why not sue Larry Smith for what he said in the video 'Dunkley's drug scandal' ? .....

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  11. Verbal Kint says:

    Another question arises. Jeremy Deacon, among others, has questioned the possibility of a rift in the PLP. When these controversies arise, the PLP faithful who unfailingly leap to Mr. Bean's defense are typically Marc Daniels, David Burt, Makai Dickerson, Chris Famous, the Trumps, etc. When was the last time Derrick Burgess, Walter Lister, Wayne Furbert, etc. rose to defend Mr. Bean when his actions have been questioned?

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  12. Jah says:

    Will Mr.Bean and Mr.Dunkley take a drug test?
    We cannot have those that make laws break laws.By submitting to and passing drug tests,we will feel more confident that our elected officials are not debating whilst stoned! Law enforcement officers and most others are required to take a drug test,our politicians should also!

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    • Toodle-oo says:

      Although this will probably not be allowed to be posted Mr Bean and Mr Dunkley HAVE already been tested on prior occasions .
      In Mr Dunkley's case it was part of the OBA scheme to make sure all of their candidates were drug free.
      In Mr Bean's case it was for private enterprise purposes.

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  13. hmm says:

    This is petty s***.. It's OTHER ISSUES in Bermuda that need to solved. Come on man.. Take a damn seat

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    • Betty Trump says:

      YES, like government creating JOBS, JOBS and more JOBS, folks are hurting big time out there, and this is what they are most concern about right now. If you have never been out of work, this issue is more petty than ever to most, as it seems to appear as nothing more than a Political petty silliness of MPs rearing their ugly Egos, Lets get back to serious issues facing Bermuda, rather than a Facebook comment. The video seems to be more damaging than any thing. Take a look.

      For once the OBAubp need to get serious about something....GET ON WITH REAL GOVERNANCE OF THE COUNTRY.........Let the OBAubp put forward a workable Plan to create JOBS, STOP GANG VIOLENCE and BUILD another leg to our economy, I am waiting to read that plan. WHERE IS THE PLAN? OR is it just about their Trojan horse SAGE to CUT MORE JOBS...thus increasing the unemployment rate higher? Folks suffering, no ideas of how to create JOBS? NO one wants to hear this silly Polly nonsense stuff......JOBS PLEASE !!

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      • hmm says:

        HELLO! I agree! Where are the JOBS the OBA PROMISED! I haven't seen jack yet! Guess what... Bermuda def got a CHANGE! We are going down hill, slowly but SURELY! PRAY BERMUDA!

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        • Hmmm says:

          This action has nothing to do with the OBA....it is a private action by a person against another person.....Why are you trying to use for your own agenda?

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        • Reas0n says:

          "We are going down hill, slowly but SURELY!"

          So right you are. The PLP supporters are the ones suffering... I wonder why. You made your bed, now lay in it.

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          • Betty Trump says:

            Suffering because of this conservative OBAubp government whom are only protecting that certain sector of the society, and are those folks that vote in one direction only and always have !

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        • Mike Hind says:

          Check the papers. 420 Bermudians that were previously unemployed now have jobs.

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      • Mike Hind says:

        Like the 420 new hires?

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  14. terry says:

    The law clearly defines Libel, Slander and Defamation.
    Mr. Smith is not protected by this if he crossed the line regardless of his profession, standing and/or occupation.

    If 'all' of it is a matter of public record (Supreme Court writings) then he has a leg to stand on.

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    • Sandy Bottom says:

      The reason Smith isn't being sued is because the public has little interest in what he says. He could say a lot of things, and no-one would care. He is not worth suing.

      Mr Bean, on the other hand, is obviously well-known. If he alleges something, it will get noticed. If he alleges someone is a criminal, he had better be sure he can back it up. Because if he can't, that is defamation, and he will lose the court case.

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  15. Bermy Yout says:

    Passa! Sounds like sum slcack words lookin to push buttons so ya gotta expect a response right..
    Let's see who's got d better lawyers!!

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  16. Verbal Kint says:

    Another question has gone begging here. Whether legal or not, defamation or not, Mr. Bean didn't show much political savvy by being drawn into a discussion of this on social media. Marc Daniels has posted his views on social media as have other members of the House and Senate from both parties. I think it shows a lack of discretion on their part to do so. The same goes for lawyers who are active on social media. What does posting an opinion on social media, by lawyers, do to undermine their potential credibility in subsequent cases?

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    • swing voter says:

      agreed....I think the younger, especially the 'social activity' of the less experienced members of the bar association are the problem for the most part....especially the locals...oops is that comment possibly liable @ BERNEWS?

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  17. Legal beagle says:

    I would not hire a lawyer who goes on social media,he/she may break confidentiality between client and lawyer.

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  18. Victor says:

    I've noted Bean's comments and they are dumb beyond belief. Dunkley should just let this guy keep rambling with skewed insinuations - it just shows him for the dissembler he is. Everybody knows Michael is anything but a drug importer, tax evader or whatever else Beano can dream up... If Bean wants a real issue, he might ask why importers cannot bring in milk while the dairy can be a full fledged wholesaler (Pepsi, Frito Lay, etc). Also, I trust Michael will have the good taste to recuse himself from any official commissions into the price of food...

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  19. tricks are for kids.... says:

    If there's no truth to the matter I'm not understanding all the drama.....If somebody said something about me or made reference to something that I knew not to be true I for one would not make a big deal of it .....it would be like water off a ducks back......They talked about Jesus so what chance do I stand..........Too much unecessary drama....I would think that the safety of the people on the island, getting tourism revived and fixing the countries debt to be of more significance.....Same S#7T different day.......when are we going to move forward instead of rehashing day in and day out........#schoolyardantics........

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  20. aceboy says:

    Sam old Bean, same old PLP.

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  21. pebblebeach says:

    It amazes me how a Leader of the Opposition can resort to this level and make stupid comments on Facebook... Mr Bean, get the PLP house in order and stop making a fool of yourself and your party. Lead by example if you will...and you wonder why the people did not come out to vote for the PLP or why long standing members of the PLP simply look to others for leadership.

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    • Betty Trump says:

      Guess you have not read some of the same comments by your own OBAubp MPs, guess your one-sided bias views or lack of knowledge makes you make such a comment. REALLY Look in the mirror first of your own party and than speak .

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      • Mike Hind says:

        When? Show us.

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        • Mike Hind says:

          Nothing. As per usual.

          You say a lot of stuff, but you "lack substance", "Betty". And character. And integrity. And honesty.

          What comments are you referring to?

          Or will this be yet another lie from you that you simply cannot back up?

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  22. one eye says:

    its now up to the courts to determine the courts to determine this matter.

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  23. Yes I says:

    Oh well....no such thing as playing in the playground with two types of sand. Only depends on who has the biggest bucket. However let it be known that both players hands will be dirty. Drugs is embedded in the fabric of Bermuda economy, and now get the popcorn ready.

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  24. xxxxx says:

    Drug test all MPs!

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  25. Verbal Kint says:

    I wonder what the liability might be for the people who run the facebook page. Anyone know?

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  26. Realist says:

    Ok,Mr.Bean will get legal aid,who pays for Mr.Dunkley's lawyers?

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  27. whataboutus says:

    so this is dunkleys mature discussion avbout marijuana legalization? or an oba plot not to talk about ending the war? or are both political parties so inextricably intertwined with the.....that they came up with this farce together? or d, all of the above?

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  28. Time Shall Tell says:

    So Marc points out a potential conflict of interest & Dunkley responds by trying to sue Marc??? Too funny.

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    • Verbal Kint says:

      Marc didn't point out a potential conflict of interest, he accused Dunkley of certain things. Dunkley's not trying to sue, he has sued.

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