What you need to know:
- In the case filed in 2018, Mr Kiprotich sued Mr Mabatuk for allegedly publishing a post on a Facebook page “For real I am for Baringo County” that was aimed at attacking his character.
- In his ruling, Mr Kalo said Mr Mabatuk was not served with the court documents properly before the case was heard and determined.
A former Nakuru-based Standard newspaper journalist on Wednesday got a reprieve after the court set aside the judgement that ordered him to pay his former boss Sh 8 million for defamation.
Mr Vincent Mabatuk, a former correspondent with Standard newspaper in Nakuru, successfully challenged the judgement that was delivered by Nakuru Chief magistrate Josephat Kalo on February 25, which found him guilty of defaming Mr Alex Kiprotich Chepkoit, his then boss in 2017.
The court had ordered Mr Mabatuk to pay Sh6 million damages, Sh2 million aggregated damages plus the cost of the suit.
However, on Tuesday the same court quashed the said judgement and ordered for a proper trial.
In his ruling, Mr Kalo said Mr Mabatuk was not served with the court documents properly before the case was heard and determined.
“The court finds that the service of summons to enter appearance was not effected upon the defendant as required by law. Consequently, the judgement herein and all the consequential orders are hereby set aside,” ruled Mr Kalo.
In the case filed in 2018, Mr Kiprotich sued Mr Mabatuk for allegedly publishing a post on a Facebook page “For real I am for Baringo County” that was aimed at attacking his character.
Through his lawyer Kipkoech Ngetich, Mr Kiprotich accused his former employee of maliciously publishing the content to damage his character.
Mr Ng’etich defended his client as a person of an outstanding character in the society who enjoyed high esteem and respect from the colleagues in the journalism and media industry and the general public.
The court heard that Mr Kiprotich, at the time of the publication, was a personal assistant to the late retired president Daniel Moi, besides being the bureau chief of the standard newspaper in Nakuru.
He was also in charge of communication for the Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.
Failed to enter appearance nor file a response
However, the judgement was delivered ex-parte after Mr Mabatuk failed to enter appearance nor file a response.
In his new application, he complained that he was not allowed to defend himself as he was not aware of the ongoing case in court and only learnt of the judgement through social media.
Attempts by Mr Kiprotich to oppose the application were unsuccessful after the court rejected his claim of having served Mr Mabatuk with the court documents.
The two scribes fell out during the 2017 general election campaigns after they found themselves on the opposing sides of the political divide.