For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Susitha R. Fernando
The Colombo District Court yesterday refused the preliminary objection raised by the Sunday Leader newspaper and its editor against the enjoining order obtained to prevent publishing articles defamatory of senior counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty.
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.
Earlier, attorney-at-law Nalin Ruchira Ladduwahetty brought a case against 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 that restrained 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 St Thomas’ College in the Sunday Leader of February 20, 27, March 6 and 27, 2011, the newspaper had maliciously and intentionally caused damage to his goodwill.
However Leader Publication and its Editor objected to the enjoining order. Counsel Nigel Hatch PC instructed by Samaratne 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. Having heard the arguments from both parties, the court refused the objection raised by the newspaper and its editor and put off further trial for August 29.
Counsel Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera, Eraj De Silva and Shanaka Cooray supported the plaint instructed by Nilanthi Pieris of Paul Ratnayake Associates. Nigel Hatch PC and Jeff J Alagaratnam PC with Suren Fernando appeared for the Sunday Leader Editor and Leader Publications.