NMG to pay advocate Danstan Omari Sh 9M for defamation

Lawyer Danstan Omari and part of his team outside Milimani Law Courts at a past date. PHOTO/file

The Nation Media Group has been ordered to pay Musyoki Mogaka & Co. Advocates managing partner Danstan Omari Sh 9 million for defamation.

Omari has been awarded general damages in the amount of Sh 6 million for libel and aggravated damages of Sh 3 million.

The advocate sued NMG after the Daily Nation newspaper published an article on 6th January 2022 under the title “Cheers and Boos: Here are the best and worst public communicators of 2021”. 

Omari’s name was ranked among the worst communicators and had indicated that his cases were likely to fail.

In the suit, Omari argued that the publication led to his resignation from being a lecturer, being avoided by colleagues and losing clients.

After the hearing of the case, Principal Magistrate Becky Cheloti ruled that the published article did affect the plaintiff by lowering his reputation in the estimation of right-minded persons as it caused him to be avoided by his clients and professional colleagues. His law firm bore the brunt in that they lost clients and briefs because of it.

“A few months following the publication, the plaintiff resigned from being a lecturer whereas he had been a lecturer for 10 years,” the magistrate ruled.

In addition the magistrate found malice in that the article had to have undergone various editorial processes before the same was published 

“From the foregoing, I am of the view that the plaintiff herein has argued his case beyond a balance of probabilities. He has satisfied the threshold required for the tort of defamation to succeed as has met all the key ingredients required,” the court ruled.

NMG was also ordered to publish an unqualified retraction of all defamatory statements and an unconditional apology on a whole page of the daily newspaper.

Omari told the court that he came across the defamation from a lawyer’s WhatsApp forum. He argued that the publication was full of malice with the direct intent of damaging his reputation and professional standing in society.

NMG was also slapped with the cost of the suit.

However the media company was dissatisfied with the ruling and went ahead to file a memorandum of appeal.

They argued that the magistrate erred in law and in fact by in awarding the general damages of Sh 6 million which amount is high taking into account the evidence, the pleadings and all the factors to be considered when assessing damages for defamation.