Seychelles' Court of Appeal dismisses two appeal cases – upholding a defamation suit and ending an unlawful arrest claim
The Palais de Justice building which houses the Court of Appeal. (Judiciary of Seychelles)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Court of Appeal on Friday rendered its judgment for over 15 cases for their April session. Among the judgement rendered, was the dismissal of the appeal of Ahmed Afif, the Vice President of Seychelles who was sued for defamation in 2015 by former chief executive of Air Seychelles, Captain Davy Savy.
Court of Appeal judges Mathilda Twomey, Fiona Robinson and Anthony Fernando rendered the judgement on Friday.
Savy filed a suit and claimed damages for defamation of his character against Afif, who was then the secretary general of the Lalyans Seselwa (Seychellois Alliance) party and had made the allegations in a public gathering at a conference centre in Bois de Rose.
In his statement of defence in the Supreme Court, Afif stated that the comments he made were in the public interest, not defamatory but were made on matters of purely public interest, in good faith and without malice.
The counsel for Savy, Elvis Chetty had said in his conclusion that "there are no defences available to Mr. Afif since the falsity of the defamation is presumed until disproved by the defendant. The onus of proving the truth of the statements lay on Mr. Afif, a burden he failed to satisfy."
The Supreme Court found that Afif's defences of justification and fair comment failed.
Dissatisfied with the decision, he decided to make an appeal which was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in the report given on Friday.
The court ordered Afif "to pay to the Respondent, David Savy, the sum of SCR 50,000 [$3,472], together with interests from the date of the judgment of the Supreme Court and costs of the suit below and of this appeal," according to court documents.
Since October last year, defamation is no longer a crime for journalists in Seychelles after President Wavel Ramkalawan signed into law an amendment to the Penal Code. Defamation can only be pursued as a civil case.
Kenyan national – appeal concerning unlawful arrest
Another appeal dismissed by the Court of Appeal was that of Nasim Onezime, a Kenyan national who was arrested and subsequently deported to Kenya. Following her deportation on February 1, 2021, she filed a petition before the Constitutional Court seeking damages against the government for unlawful arrest and detention that infringed on several of her Constitutional Rights. The petition also consisted of an affidavit by the petitioner.
Onezime had appealed against the decision of the Constitutional Court dismissing her constitutional petition on the ground that her affidavit was defective and inadmissible.
In delivering the Court's judgement, Fernando said "I am, therefore, of the view that the Constitutional Court did not err in dismissing the petition without granting the Appellant the opportunity to file a fresh affidavit and I, therefore, dismiss ground of appeal. "
He added that since the Constitutional Court did not err on any one of the three grounds raised by way of appeal there is no basis to quash the judgment of the Constitutional Court as sought by the appellant. "For the reasons enumerated above I dismiss the appeal but make no order as to costs," he concluded.