Home / Free Speech / Court declines Vimal Shah’s request to compel Google and Twitter to pull down Blogger Nyakundi’s posts
Blogger Cyprian Nyakundi. Photo courtesy of niaje.com
Blogger Cyprian Nyakundi. Photo courtesy of niaje.com

Court declines Vimal Shah’s request to compel Google and Twitter to pull down Blogger Nyakundi’s posts

A request by billionaire Vimalkumar Bhimji Depar Shah and his company Bidco to compel Google and Twitter to enforce a mandatory injunction on content by blogger Cyprian Nyakundi was declined by Justice Aburili Roselyne Ekirapa in an ongoing defamation case.

In the case, civil suit 300 of 2015, Vimal Shah and Bidco have sued Stephen Jennings, Rendeavour Group, Preston Mendenhall, Artem Gurevich, Aly Khan  Satchu and Cyprian  Nyakundi for defamation alleging that they made various injurious comments in different ways against the plaintiffs.

In a sworn affidavit Mr. Vimal Kumar  Bhimji Depar  Shah on 31st August  2015, accused the six to have used their different platforms to defame him. For instance, Aly Khan Satchu is accused to have hosted Stephen Jennings on Mind Speak where ‘a speech to a  large audience  of influential  investors, in which he  uttered the words which  were  defamatory to the Vimal. Satchu further fielded questions which  questions were meant  and did encourage the Jennings to utter  further defamatory  statements  regarding the first plaintiff. Jennings  proceeded to  post and publish the said  defamatory  statements on their website.’

Stephen Jennings, Preston Mendenhall and Artem Gurevich hold different positions at Rendeavour Group, a real estate company that is embroiled in several legal tussles with Vimal Shah over Tatu City project, the first private metropolitan city to be constructed in independent Kenya.

On his part, Blogger Cyprian Nyakundi is accused to have been hired by Stephen Jennings to undertake

“a vile  smear campaign against the plaintiffs and he had  during the months  of July 2015  to August  2015 published  various  defamatory statements  on his  blog site http://cnyakundi.com as well as  on the various  online  twitter  platforms vide @c-nyakundi.”

It is further alleged that despite the gravity of  the allegation being  made  against the Bidco and Vimal, they  have

“despite  repeated  demands failed to pull down  from their  websites  the defamatory article  despite  their  knowledge of the said  articles  causing  distress  and exposing  the plaintiffs to  odium, ridicule and contempt.  The  said defamatory  articles  continue to  expose and cause the plaintiffs  untold distress  as they are being  viewed by hundreds of  thousands and /or  millions of Kenyans  and other nationalities  spread across the world  on the  world  wide web system  of the internet.”

In a ruling, the plaintiffs wanted interim  injunction and mandatory injunction against them. The interim  injunction were to bar them from posting  and forwarding on any electronic  media, or publishing, or disseminating defamatory  words, statements against the plaintiffs.

The mandatory injunction were to direct them to erase  from their  various  posts, websites, blogs  or their  other forms of electronic  and social media the said defamatory  words, statements, pending the hearing and determination of the case.

In the ruling dated, 10th August 2016, Justice Aburili said

I find that granting  the mandatory  orders sought  by the plaintiffs  would be tantamount to issuing  final orders. Accordingly, the prayer for a mandatory injunction fails.

She added

The prayer for a mandatory injunction and for Google and Twitter to assist in enforcement is declined.

She however granted interim orders against their continued publishing of the defamatory words against the plaintiffs. She said

 I am satisfied that on affidavit evidence available, the plaintiffs have established a prima facie case with a probability of success that the defendants should be restrained by way of a prohibitory injunction from publishing any defamatory statements or words, of and concerning the plaintiffs.

The parties  were directed to expeditiously prepare the suit for trial within 12 months from the date of this ruling.

About shitemi khamadi

Shitemi is the Kenya Monitor Managing Editor. He trains journalists on basics of journalism, storytelling, conflict sensitive journalism and devolution.

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