DC Case between George Steuart Health (Pvt) Ltd & MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd, taken up

DC Case between George Steuart Health (Pvt) Ltd & MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd, taken up

DC Case between George Steuart Health (Pvt) Ltd & MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd, taken up

Written by Staff Writer

07 Dec, 2020 | 6:24 pm

Colombo (News 1st);  The case filed at the Colombo District Court by George Steuart Health Private Limited against MTV Channel Private Limited was taken up at the judge’s chamber today.

Making submissions on behalf of the defendant MTV Channel Private Limited, President’s Counsel Uditha Egalahewa made submissions that the ex parte enjoining order that was issued on 24th November 2020, must be vacated as:

1. Court was misled and facts misrepresented by the Plaintiff;

2. Material facts were suppressed;

3. Parties essential to the action have not been named as parties to the action, resulting in non-joinder;

4. Therefore the Enjoining order was Maliciously obtained.

Counsel for the defendant also demonstrated the surreptitious manner in which the letter of demand sent by the plaintiff was backdated and only sent to the defendant through courier service on 23rd November at 8.37am, and was delivered to the defendant only on 24th November around 4.00 pm, one day after the action was filed and enjoining order ex parte obtained by the plaintiff.

Counsel also made submissions that the news reports by News1st were not defamatory of the Plaintiff and that what was reported was statements made by various parliamentarians in Parliament and in various public press conferences.

Further, the counsel also made submissions that the Chairman of George Steuart Health Private Limited Dilith Jayaweera must be named as a necessary party to this case, as he is also the chairman of Derana television channel who is now attempting to allege that he has been defamed by hiding behind this case.

Counsel also said the Affidavit of the plaintiff company contained untruthful statements and misled courts and as per the civil procedure code is it an offense to lie on Oath.

Counsel also drew reference to the freedom of expression and right to information, as enshrined in the constitution, of media organizations, which have a duty to report facts to the general public.

Therefore, the counsel for the Defendant submitted that the whole action is malicious and he further submitted that No proper cause of action has arisen for the plaintiff against the defendant.

In response, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for the plaintiff said that it is not mandatory to send a letter of demand in regard to defamation cases and furthermore, he said that in the plaint, sufficient averments have been set out to prove that the defendant company defamed the plaintiff, therefore, the plaintiff is entitled to extend the enjoining order.

Having heard the submissions of both parties, the court extended the enjoining order, only valid till 18th December 2020, on which date objections of the defendant are to be filed.

Mr. Uditha Egalahewa President’s Counsel, Mr. Jeevantha Jayathilaka, Mr. Nishkan Parathalingam Mr Niranjan Arulpragasam, Mr. Damitha Karunaratne, Mr. N K Ashokbharan, Mr. Miyuru Egalahewa, and Seven other counsels appeared for the defendant instructed by Mr. G G Arulpragasam.

Appearing for the Plaintiff was Mr. Romesh de Silva PC and Mr. Ruwantha Cooray Attorney at Law.

Incidentally, Mr. Cooray earlier functioned as the senior-most junior at Mr. Ali Sabry’s chambers prior to Mr. Sabry becoming the Minister of Justice.

Plaintiff was instructed by Mr. Sanath Wijewardena Attorney-at-Law.

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