Governor Waiguru faces Google hurdle in defamation case

by Wakili Liam
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Anne Waiguru, Govenor, Kirinyaga County

A court has ordered Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru to furnish Internet giant Google with court papers in a defamation case where she is seeking compensation for an alleged defamatory story that was published by a Kenyan blogger.

Justice Weldon Korir Tuesday granted Ms Waiguru two months to serve the California-based Google Inc. with the documents of the case that is expected to define the responsibility and liability for online carriers of material posted by third parties (users).

The case has been ongoing for six years now.

The judge made the order after Ms Waiguru’s lawyer Salome Beacco said she wants more time to pursue the service of court documents abroad through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The internet firm’s Kenyan subsidiary and commercial agent, Google Kenya Limited, through lawyer Sangok Winnie said the governor was yet to comply with court directions issued in 2015 requiring her to serve the papers.

“Google Inc has not been served yet. The petitioner was in 2015 directed to undertake service. She has not moved to have the matter settle down for hearing. The petition has no legs to stand on,” said lawyer Sangok.

Ms Waiguru filed the case in July 2014 seeking orders compelling a blog site known as Daily Post to pull down alleged defamatory content.

She claimed that sometime in April the same year the website, which is available on a platform provided by the Google Inc in the form of its Content Management System-, published an article that was defamatory to her.

Ms Waiguru said having been aggrieved by the offending publication, she has a right to seek legal redress but she cannot exercise that right without the information held by Google Inc and Google Kenya Ltd, regarding the owners, authors and publishers of the Daily Post, being provided.

She urged court to uphold her rights by issuing an order compelling Google to disclose information such as the identity including name, address, telephone number, verification email address, access logs, any sign-up IP address, account status of persons who own, control, publish or post in the site known titled Daily post.

Ms Waiguru also urged court to issue an order directing Google to remove or cause to be removed and permanently delete all defamatory statements concerning her published in the blog. Earlier the court declined a request by Google Kenya Ltd to be struck out of the case.

It had argued that as a commercial agent, it was not responsible for publication of the material as the platform is owned by Google Inc.

The case will be mentioned on June 8, 2021 for Ms Waiguru to inform court on the issue of furnishing the internet firm withcourt papers.

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