Despite having obtained partial judicial reprieve in respect to a case involving ‘faceless’ Facebook user Tom Voltaire Okwalinga (TVO), city lawyer Fred Muwema has once again taken on the giant social media platform, seeking relief against ‘the refusal of an interlocutory order’.
In an appeal filed by his lawyers, Ms Lavelle Solicitors of St. James House Adelaide House, Dublin, on February 27, Mr Muwema seeks to appeal the decisions of Mr Justice Donald Binchy, made on August 23, 2016 and February 8, 2017.
In the ruling, Mr Muwema argues, he was not granted the relief sought in his Notice of Motion of May 25, 2016, seeking a ‘Disclosure Order’ (Norwich Pharmacal) against Facebook, to know the identity of TVO, and also to stop publishing his posts.
‘The Learned Judge erred in law or in a mixed question of law and fact in finding that the appellant was not in the circumstances of the case, entitled to a Disclosure Order (Norwich Pharmacal) relief in the circumstances where the Learned High Court Judge found that the posts and or articles of Tom Voltaire Okwalinga (‘TVO’) posted between 17th and 24th March were defamatory to the Appellant,’ Muwema’s lawyers wrote in the Expedited Appeal that also has 14 other grounds of appeal against Facebook Ireland Limited.
In the appeal Muwema wants court to set aside the ‘refusal’ of Mr Justice Binchy ‘of the reliefs sought by the Appellants at paragraph 4 of Notice of Motion dated 25th May, 2016 and a finding in lieu thereof that the Respondent provide the Appellant with any details which it holds relating to the identities and or vocation of the person or persons who operate the Tom Voltaire Okwalinga Facebook page,’ the lawyers add.
The lawyers also want Facebook to pay costs to Muwema, for the suits in the High Court and Appeal Court, ‘with regard to the Disclosure Order’.
On February 8 this year the High Court in Ireland ordered anonymous Facebook user Tom Voltaire Okwalinga aka TVO, to pull down Facebook posts he put up disparaging Muwema.
In TVO’s post, he indicated that in the period before the presidential elections in February 2016 Muwema, who was counsel for former presidential candidate John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, had broken into his own offices and caused the disappearance of several affidavits sworn to support Mr. Mbabazi’s presidential petition, lodged against declared winner President Yoweri Museveni.
After losing the elections Mr. Mbabazi lodged a petition in the Supreme Court challenging Mr Museveni’s victory, but this was after Muwema had withdrawn from representing Mr Mbabazi.
In the ensuing debacle counsel Muwema asked Facebook to reveal to him the identity of TVO in order to ensure his public stature (Norwich Pharmacal Order) and also have the offensive post put down; kicking of the protracted legal battle.
And, Mr Justice Donald Binchy, ruled that TVO delete his posts, giving the anonymous ‘poster’ 14 days in which to effect the court decision.
This has not been done, prompting Muwema to appeal, and the case will be heard on March 31, 2017.