Court saves ex-reporter from paying Sh8 million in libel case

Kalo said Kiprotich failed to serve Mabatuk with the subsequent summons on the court proceedings.

In Summary
  • The ruling states that the journalist was not served with court papers, hence denial of a fair trial.
  • Kiprotich accused Mabatuk over a malicious post in his Facebook page which portrayed him as immoral.
Ex-standard media group journalist Vincent Mabatuk
Ex-standard media group journalist Vincent Mabatuk

A Nakuru court has ruled against former Standard Media Group journalist Vincent Mabatuk paying his former boss Alex Kiprotich Sh8 million for defamation.

Kiprotich had moved to court to sue Mabatuk, accusing him of posting a defamatory statement on Facebook on March 13, 2018.

“The defendant was not served with summons to appear in court to be heard, hence the orders were invalid, irregular and inconsequential,” Nakuru magistrate Josephat Kalo ruled on Tuesday.

In his 10-page judgment, Kalo accused Kiprotich of failing to serve Mabatuk with the subsequent summons on the court proceedings.

“The plaintiff obtained court judgment to be paid Sh8 million for damages after misleading the court that he had served the defendant with the court papers, which he actually never did whatsoever,” Kalo said.

In his affidavit, Mabatuk informed the court that he was never notified of the dates of the proceeding of the case.

“I only learned about the judgment to pay Sh8 million through what Kiprotich posted on his Facebook page,” he said.

The magistrate, however, overturned the initial ruling, saying it denied the defendant the right to a fair trial.

The same magistrate in May ordered the former journalist to pay Sh6 million general damages and Sh2 million for aggravated damages.

Kiprotich, the Standard Group's Nakuru bureau chief, filed a case against Mabatuk following a post he made on social media.

The contents of the publication according to his lawyer Kipkoech Ng’etich were understood to mean Kiprotich is immoral.

“The defendant falsely and maliciously wrote and published the offending post to his followers and to the group account by the name ‘For real I am from Baringo County’ and made the contents available to people in Nakuru, Kenya and around the world knowing well that the allegations are untrue,” read the suit.

Edited by Henry Makori