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Enjoining order against Sunday Leader extended

12 September 2011 06:00 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Colombo District Court further extended the enjoining order today, which prevented Leader Publications publishing articles defamatory of senior counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty, till September 27.

At the onset of the inquiry before Additional District Judge T. D. Gunasekera the counsel for the defendants submitted that they had appealed against the order given by the District Judge on August 15 as the order appears to be prejudiced to the defendants. At this stage District Judge T. D. Gunasekera transferred the case to be heard by Colombo District judge Ranjith Watukola.

During the inquiry before District Judge Ranjith Watukola the counsel for the first and the second defendants pleaded to dismiss the enjoining order on considering the preliminary objections submitted by them before the former judge. Judge Ranjith Watukola extended the enjoining order till September 27 and said that since the journal entries of the previous date was not in the record he would extend the enjoining order subject to the objections of the defendants and once the journal entries are available he would decide on lifting the enjoining order.

Earlier Additional District Judge T. D. S. Gunasekara refused the preliminary objection raised by the newspaper and its editor, Frederica Jansz and ordered each defendant to pay Rs.25,000 to Mr. Ladduwahetty as legal costs. Senior Counsel Nalin Ruchira Ladduwahetty sued Leader Publications (Private) Limited and Sunday Leader Editor Frederica Jansz claiming Rs.10 million as damages for defamation.

Subsequent to the action, the court had issued an enjoining order restraining the newspaper from publishing defamatory articles against Mr. Ladduwahetty. Supporting the action on behalf of Ladduwahetty, Senior counsel Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera instructed by Paul Ratnayaka Associates had stated that by publishing several news items relating to an incident that took place at S. Thomas’ College in the Sunday Leader of February 20, 27, March 6 and 27, 2011, the newspaper with malicious intention caused damage to his goodwill.

However Leader Publication and its Editor objected to the enjoining order. Counsel Nigel Hatch PC instructed by Samaratane Associates appearing for the newspaper company and its editor claimed that the District court has no jurisdiction to issue such an order and that it was invalid. They further claimed that the enjoining order was vague, wide and ambiguous and asked that it be vacated. (T. Farook Thajudeen)

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