LETTER: No way this Electronic Crimes Act is constitutional


Dear Editor,

I note recent reported arrests under the Electronic Crime Act. And let me be clear from the start. I am no fan of the two women who were recently arrested under the Act.

It is clear to me however, that the Act imposes a restriction on Freedom of Expression that is not required in a democratic society nor in the interest of public safety. So if Tracy Robinson taught you law at the Faculty of Law, you would conclude that the act is unconstitutional.

I don’t expect the lazy here to challenge it, they’d sooner ask you to plead guilty to reduce your sentence. The law has gone unchallenged so far it remains on the law books and so lawmen use it.

It is my submission that such offences are covered under current incitement and defamation laws in Antigua and Barbuda.

The government has simply found a way to criminalise persons who are outspoken on social media thereby re-introducing criminal defamation.

There will be more outrage when the police accidentally arrests the wrong person.

It would be interesting to see how this plays out.

Law Student 


This law is the most unconstitutional and inhumane I have ever met. It takes away the right for folks to hold public officials accountable.

I am not saying this wonderful acting DPP is horrible in anyway or that I would accept my name to be tarnished in the manner her’s was alleged to have been but this should never be a criminal matter unless there is a separate, continuous, and offensive coarse language or other manner that is likely to cause annoyance.

However, when the person is a public figure, there should be a higher standard required by the police/DPP for a charge to be laid.

It should require malice (actual knowledge the information was wrong or harbored feelings that the statement being made is not correct). This standard is required in a civil case, just money as damages and or an injunction to stop the injurious conduct).

Now, something more severe as criminal charges should follow the public figure rule. It should require not just the mere conduct was done but instead the conduct coupled with malice.

I have utmost respect for an attorney and public figures within any democratic government but I loose respect for public officials who behave in this manner.

This outright tyranny, and violation of everything a constitution stands for.

I will honestly I prefer the DPP any day over this man or the person whatever he would like to call himself but this can not be the law and the manner the public are treated for saying what they could reasonably or ill-informed conclude unless it is so outrageous no person could have concluded what they have stated about another.

DPP, you have loss points in my book. The correct response was to use your platform to correct the misinformation and if the conduct continues and meets MY high requirements then you proceed to the police and whatever he gets under the law, he may then deserve it. But it seems this is not the case here. The other iption was to ignore until the conduct becomes a continuous form of harassment.

We are to stop using our office to bully others, even when sometimes socially that person may deserve it but legally they do not.

I fear Antigua, and I fear the people. I fear the outdated and archaic laws and manner being used to practice law. I think even the worse of the worse would have procedural defenses to overturn any conviction in Antigua. I just want Antigua to be better.

You should never be in fear of what and who you love. I am demanding for this DPP to drop all charges and give a warning.

Also, this man should be released and the police violated his constitutional rights by detaining him beyond 48 hours. Saturdays are included in the count and therefore he was held for more than 48 hours, it seems.

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  1. Freedom of expression and slander are two different things. You have a right to express your opinion – you do not have the right to tarnish someone’s image in doing so.

    • @Danny, then would it he fair to say, that #ALL politicians and their #hench-folks should have court cases from the DPP’s desk to the chambers of the Privy Council⁉️

      Or, there is #Selective #Amnesia running around the Judiciary like AIDS or COVID-19⁉️

    • @Danny
      Yup… They’re two different things.
      Whatever happened to “Sticks and stones may break my bones but NAMES will NEVER hurt me”???
      When it comes to PUBLIC FIGURES they should have NO PROTECTIONS from WORDS hurled at them. “If you CAN’T stand the heat, then stay out of the kitchen”!!!

    • In Democratic countries, ‘slander’ is a tort, not a crime. This is the point the writer is making. The law must be challenged.

    • @Danny: To tarnished the name of someone,anyone,no one should be arrested for that.That person whose name was tarnish could file a lawsuit.How it is Gaston Browne was never arrested for his defamatory postings on Facebook?

  2. Clearly a civil matter and not to be picked up by the Police and arrested ?
    If you believe someone tarnish your name that individual then arrested and faced six in prison and that’s acceptable ?
    This a classic case 101 of Governmental overreach and control not worth the paper it’s written on.

  3. When you say the two women who were arrested you lost me there, be careful your not arrested for spreading false information.


  4. Before writing this epistle did the writer even take the time to read the act passed in 2013? How about this part:

    4. Sending offensive messages through communication services, etc
    (1) A person shall not intentionally, without lawful excuse or justification send by means of an electronic system –
    (a) information that is offensive or threatening;
    (b) information which is false, causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction,
    insult, injury, intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such
    electronic system or an electronic device; or
    (c) electronic mail or an electronic message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience, or to deceive or mislead the recipient as to the origin of such message.

    The act was amended in 2018, the section above:

    The principal Act is amended in section 4 (1) by –
    (a) repealing the words, “offensive or” in paragraph (a);
    (b) deleting paragraph (b) and replacing it as follows –
    “(b) an electronic mail or an electronic message for the purpose of causing annoyance, insult, intimidation, enmity or hatred.” and
    (c) deleting paragraph (c) in its entirety.

    Notice the part intentionally? This and the 2018 amendment means in essence intent (for the purpose of) to cause harm (annoyance, insult..) must be proved. We need to stop trying to create problems where there is none

  5. Tenman,which is worse. Sending messages that are Offensive or Stealing from the People Purses? Persons are being arrested for sending electronic messages. However,there are those who steals daily from the people and nothing happens to them. For as an example,the Customs Broker whom it is said forge the signature of the sitting Prime Minister. He made hundreds of thousands of dollars in doing so. Up to today,no one arrested and charged. Was Gaston Browne lying when he uttered that statement? I am fully aware he is King Liard,King of all Liars.

    • Guy why not name him and also state your name? You like your $ and safety? Seems it was speculation by the person making the claim. Think back, not even the minister of finance (again its not about the PM signature, just happens that they hold the same office) knew who the said person was. Recall the FM, even admitting that he miss-spoke re the involvement of the police. I point out the office because I read your off-base prior post re the PM’s power vs the GG. Much was going on and info got garbled. Try and research how the customs software worked, how documents are uploaded, software bugs and human error

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