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CCJ Rules Against GT&T In Internet Disconnection Case

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago (CCJ) --The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) yesterday delivered its decision in James Samuels v Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company [2015] CCJ 8 (AJ).

This appeal centered on the issue of whether Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) breached its contract in disconnecting Mr Samuels’ internet service because of his use of Vonage (an internet phone service which uses Voice over Internet Protocol technology).

Mr Samuels’ appeal was allowed and GT&T’s cross appeal dismissed. The Court accepted the findings of the trial judge that Mr Samuels had not signed any written agreement with GT&T and he was given no notice of any restrictions on his internet usage. The Court held that the Court of Appeal wrongly implied a term into the contract restricting Mr Samuels’ use of his internet service for making and receiving international calls. The issue of implied terms was not raised by the parties and there was no evidence to show how Mr Samuels’ conduct would have affected GT&T’s business. The Court refused to rule on whether Mr Samuels’ action infringed the Telecommunications Act as this was a matter for the Director of Telecommunications. The Court also expressed no view on whether GT&T’s exclusive licence was void based on the Civil Law Act, Cap. 6:01 and the Constitution because these matters were not part of Mr Samuels’ original claim.

GT&T was ordered to pay damages and costs as awarded by the trial judge as well as the costs of the appeal before the CCJ.

The decision of the Court was delivered by the Honourable Mr Justice Nelson. Mr Devindra Kissoon appeared as Attorney-at-law for Mr Samuels and Mr Timothy M Jonas appeared for GT&T.

The judgment of the Court and an Executive Summary is available on the CCJ’s website at www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org.