…as court slams N10m fine on defendants.
The Delta State High Court, Akwukwu-Igbo, Judicial Division today slammed a ten million naira fine on popular blogger Mr. Fejiro Oliver and Mr. Kingsley Kuyenum in a libel suit filed by the former member representing Ukwuani state constituency, Honourable Alphonsus Ojo.
In the case with suit number, A/213/2016, Honourable Alphonsus Ojo through his counsel accused the defendants of Publishing reports that the claimant, a medical practitioner, performed an abortion of an eight months old foetus, which almost claimed the life of the supposed woman.
Mr. Fejiro Oliver and his accomplice, Mr Kingsley Kuyenum popularly known as Prince Terry K, were found guilty of Publishing falsehood against Honourable Ojo on Facebook, and other blogs, including some indigenous newspapers, where they defamed the character of the claimant describing him as a 419 legislator who is unfit to represent his people in the Delta State House of Assembly, among other defamatory publications.
In his ruling, the presiding Judge, Justice Manser Okoh said the defendants who filed a memoranda condition appearance, refused to appear before the court to defend themselves, pointing out that the defendants were not able to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
The lead counsel to the claimant, Gene Mowah, Esq represented by the Barrister Chiamaka Okike said the ruling would serve as a deterrent to other journalists who Publish stories without cross-checking their facts and those who go about Publishing falsehood against responsible and respected citizens.
Speaking on the outcome of suit, the claimant, Honorable Alphonsus Ojo said he was elated that the court had vindicated him, describing the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man.
He called on journalists not to allow themselves to be used by politicians for character assassination and smear campaigns, but be agent of change and development in playing their role as the watch dog of the society.