Lawyer who was accused of rape on social media gets court order temporarily stopping his accusers from making further rape claims
gandan social media platforms, especially Twitter, are a highway of information. Topics change day by day. Emotions are at fever-pitch. Blink and you may miss it. This particular story though left its treadmarks.
Early last year, Ms. Sheena Bagaine, a student at the Uganda Christian University, claimed in a flurry of damning tweets that a one Carlton Douglas Kasirye, a lawyer and student at the Law Development Centre is a rapist and included him on a list of “serial rapists.”
The tweets garnered widespread press attention and were retweeted and shared on several online platforms. In fact, the name ” Carlton Douglas” trended on Twitter for a couple of days.
On 8th January, Mr. Kasirye through his lawyers of Simon Tendo Kabenge and Company, demanded that the tweets be taken down, claiming to be falsely accused. They were not. In fact, the allegations were repeated by Ms. Bagaine and her supporters.
Bagaine was subsequently detained and sued for defamation and libel by Carlton Douglas Kasirye in a 2 Billion suit that gripped the social media community for a while.
But, as all things on this highway, everything is in constant motion. The Twitter community soon moved on to the next trending hashtag. The dust had settled…almost.
Now on Monday, High Court Judge Justice Boniface Wamala issued a temporary injunction in favour of Carlton Douglas Kasirye stopping his accusers from further posting/making of the said rape accusations pending determination of his main suit.
Mr. Justice Wamala agreed with Carlton’s lawyers that further publication of the accusations before the determination of the main suit would cause irreparable injury to him and seriously affect his reputation as a budding lawyer of “good character” which in effect could hurt his employment opportunities hence undermining his source of a livelihood.
” The Applicant [Carlton] has shown that he is a qualified
lawyer, soon to become an advocate, and if the false allegations of rape are left
to continue, a real and imminent threat exists that the Applicant may be barred from enrolment to the bar and to practice his profession.” Justice Wamala said in his 22 page ruling.
” The Applicant argued that this would be in contravention of Article 40 (2) of the Constitution of Uganda which guarantees every person’s right to practice his or her
profession and to carry on any lawful occupation, trade or business.
” I find this averment sufficient to establish the nature of injury the Applicant is likely to suffer if the order of a temporary injunction is not granted.” He said.
It wasn’t all wins for Mr. Kasirye and his legal team though. Justice Wamala declined to grant them a ‘temporary mandatory injunction’ which would have made the Respondent delete the allegedly defamatory content from her social media platforms on the basis that it had not yet been proved that such comments were indeed defamatory, since we that it is a matter to be determined at the main trial.