By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
LUSAKA businessman Diego Casilli has been denied an interim injunction to stop Daily Nation Newspaper from publishing any articles about him.
Lusaka High Court Judge, Mwaka Mikalile, noted that the grant of an injunction would favour the interest of Mr Casilli while denying Daily Nation the freedom of expression.
In this matter, Mr Casilli sued the Daily Nation seeking damages for defamation of character for a story published that he was spearheading a Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) initiative for the August 12 elections.
Mr Casilli, of Italian origin and consul general for Belgium, felt that the story, which followed complaints that he was inappropriately involved in local PVT, defamed him.
He claimed that the article published on July 20, this year on front page titled “Hijacked PVT sparks uproar” was malicious.
He wants the Lusaka High Court to grant him a permanent injunction preventing the newspaper from publishing any articles on him.
He is also demanding damages for libel on account of the alleged scandalous, malicious, and libellous material published against him.
Mr Casilli also wants aggravated damages for the alleged callousness and malice exhibited by Daily Nation as to the effect the article would have on his reputation.
He applied for an order of interim injunction to stop the Daily Nation from carrying any further malicious story.
In opposition , Daily Nation Newspaper Managing director Richard Sakala admitted having published the article complained of and that when Mr Casili was accorded a chance to comment, he refused.
Dr Sakala contended that the words in the article were fair comment made in good faith and without malice upon a matter of public interest.
In her ruling, Ms Justice Mikalile said Mr Casilli had failed to show evidence of an intention by the newspaper to again publish the defamatory statement.
“It has been established firstly that the plaintiff is seeking damages, thus supposes that damages are sufficient to atone for any injury that he may suffer. Secondly, there is no evidence of an intention to repeat the statement complained of.”
“Lastly, there is nothing so far on record to show that the defence of fair comment is likely to fail. Thus, I hold the view that this is not a proper case to grant an interim injunction and I accordingly deny it,” she ruled.