J.P Machira & Company Advocates vs Wangethi Mwangi & Nation Newspapers (1997)

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Mr J.P Machira was a prominent lawyer, Wangethi Mwangi was the editor of Nation Newspapers. Mr J.P Machira auctioned a suit against the editor and Nation Newspapers for publishing a photo the plaintiff with an angry woman holding him by the collar of his shirt. This woman was the plaintiff’s client and the caption on the photo made it seem that his client was unhappy with is advocate services.

The plaintiff auctioned the suite against the editor and the newspaper for libel. He stated that the woman pictured was not his client and they were not fighting over money. The dispute was that of a vendor and purchaser over an agreement of sale of a piece of land. The defendants stated this in an apology they published in their newspaper but later denied this in their defense plaint.

The plaintiff moved to have the defendant’s pleadings struck out.It was accordingly scandalous, frivolous and vexatious and an abuse of the process of the court for the respondents to insist in their statement of defense that the woman pictured was a client of the appellant and they were fighting over money. During judgement, the court stated that words scandalous is not limited to indecent, offensive and improper. The denial of a well known fact can be rightly defined as scandalous. But they may not be scandalous if the matter, however scandalizing, is relevant and admissible¬† on evidence in proof of the allegation in the plaint or defense.