A court has awarded author and columnist Tony Mochama Sh9 million as damages in a defamation suit.
Senior principal magistrate A.M Obura said there was no concrete evidence that Mochama molested or sexually assaulted activist Shailja Patel and Professor Wambui Mwangi in September 2014 at a poetry party in Loresho.
The court heard that the two had ran a smear campaign against Mochama in 2014 with the hashtag Stop Tony Mochama.
The magistrate further barred the two from saying, writing and causing to be published any defamatory statements against Mochama.
She said it was evident that if the two are not stopped from publishing malicious claims about Mochama, they are bound to continue doing so having regard to their professions and the fact that they showed no remorse.
“I find that the publication was malicious on a balance of probability and I am not satisfied that they established justification or fair comment. There was proof of injury to Mochama’s reputation. The award is fair and reasonable,” she said
The magistrate held that the words were defamatory and were calculated to ridicule or lower Mochama’s esteem in the eyes of public through social media.
She said the two, who do not strike as ignorant or illiterate, should have known that it was reckless and ill-advised to resort to social media to spread damaging information concerning Mochama without any evidence.
“I have considered the legal position and re-looked the tweets as well as the threads on Mochama’s documents. The truth of these tweets concerning Mochama has not been established,” she said.
The magistrate added that there was no doubt that the tweets related to Mochama and that he was referred to as a sexual assaulter and a molester.
Mochama sued the two women after they made a false allegation on September 20 2014 that he visited Wambui’s home and sexually assaulted her friends.
According to court records, Wambui subsequently took to twitter and published defaming words.
The campaign according to Mochama was to put pressure on organizations he worked with to dismiss him.
Mochama claimed the tweets were malicious and calculated to tarnish his name. He contended that the publications caused him to be termed as a sexual molester, assaulter and rapist which was unfounded and false.
But wambui denied publishing the malicious claims. She said on September 20 2014, Mochama visited her home and sexually assaulted Patel.