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UK Court, again batters Maureen Badejo, May Send Her to Prison

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The Queens Bench Division of UK High Court of Justice, November 1, 2021, alerted a London-based blogger, Maureen Badejo, of imminent jail term if she fails to obey an existing judgement of the court against her for defaming Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, it’s founder, Dr. Daniel Olukoya, and his wife, Shade.

The Court raised the alert to her today in an Order, titled: “Notice to the Defendant”.

A document from the court reveals that Maureen Badejo was given up to Nov 4, 2021, to obey the judgement or be found guilty of contempt or court and may be sent to prison.

 

Given by the Hon. Mrs Justice Tripples, the Court said: “This order requires you to do the acts set out at paragraph 2 below.

“You should read it carefully. If you disobey the order at paragraph 2 below you may be found guilty of Contempt of Court and you may be sent to prison or fined or your assets may be seized.”

 

The paragraph 2 in reference, specifically states that: “The defendant shall by 10am on Thursday 4 November 2021 publish a summary of the judgment in the form annexed to this Order marked Annex 1 by: a. posting it to each of the social media accounts identified in sub-paragraphs 3(a) to (e) below and shall ensure that such summary be accessible to the followers of those accounts for a period of 10 days; and

b. by posting on the social media account identified in sub-paragraph 3(f) below a link to each of her Facebook accounts identified at paragraphs 3(d) and (e), and shall ensure that those links are accessible to the followers of the social media account identified at paragraphs 3(f) for a period of 10 days.”

Full text of the Order/judgement…

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE Claim No. QB-2020-003625

QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION

Media & Communications List

The Hon Mrs Justice Tipples

1 November 2021

B E T W E E N:

(1) MOUNTAIN OF FIRE AND MIRACLES

 

MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL

First Claimant

(2) DR DANIEL KOLOWALE OLUKOYA

 

Second Claimant

(3) MRS FOLASHADE OLUKOYA

 

Third Claimant

-and-

MS MAUREEN BADEJO

Defendant

____________

O R D E R

____________

Notice to the Defendant

This order requires you to do the acts set out at paragraph 2 below. You should read it carefully. If you disobey the order at paragraph 2 below you may be found guilty of Contempt of Court and you may be sent to prison or fined or your assets may be seized.

UPON the court having ordered the defendant to publish a summary of the court’s judgment pursuant to section 12(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 (“the 2013 Act”)

AND UPON the parties not having agreed the wording of a summary of the court’s judgment

AND UPON the parties not having agreed any of the matters under section 12(4) of the 2013 Act.

AND UPON the defendant informing the court at the hearing on 22 October 2021 that all the social media accounts identified in paragraph 2 of this Order are under her control

AND UPON considering the parties’ respective summaries of the court’s judgment; the second and third claimants’ solicitors’ email dated 27 October 2021 (timed at 13.29); the defendant’s email dated 28 October 2021 (timed at 09.20) and her written representations attached thereto (entitled “Representation/Submission on why section 12 [of the 2013 Act] should not be published in all the social media platforms suggested by the claimant/appellant”)

IT IS ORDERED THAT:

1. The wording of the summary of the judgment is settled by the court under section 12(3) of 2013 Act in the form annexed to this Order marked Annex 1.

2. The defendant shall by 10am on Thursday 4 November 2021 publish a summary of the judgment in the form annexed to this Order marked Annex 1 by: a. posting it to each of the social media accounts identified in sub-paragraphs 3(a) to (e) below and shall ensure that such summary be accessible to the followers of those accounts for a period of 10 days; and
b. by posting on the social media account identified in sub-paragraph 3(f) below a link to each of her Facebook accounts identified at paragraphs 3(d) and (e), and shall ensure that those links are accessible to the followers of the social media account identified at paragraphs 3(f) for a period of 10 days.

3. The social media accounts referred to in paragraph 2 above are: a. a Facebook account in the name of Gio TV: https://www.facebook.com/24hourstvchannel;
b. a Facebook account in the name of Gio TV Foundation: https://www.facebook.com/giotvfoundation;
c. the Website in the name of Gio TV, “gio-tv.com”;
d. the Facebook page in the name of Maureen Badejo @maureenbadejosblog: https://www.facebook.com/maureenbadejosblog/;
e. the Facebook account in the name, “Maureen.Badejo.587”: https://www.facebook.com/maureen.badejo.587; and
f. the YouTube channel entitled, “MaureenBadejosBlog TV”: https://youtube.com/c/MaureenbadejosblogTV.
Annex 1

Summary of the judgment to be published

by the defendant under paragraph 1 of the Order

In October 2020 Dr Daniel Olukoya and Mrs Folashade Olukoya brought proceedings against Ms Maureen Badejo in defamation in relation to allegations of, amongst other things, dishonesty and sexual misconduct. Ms Badejo filed a defence alleging the allegations she had published were true. In April 2021 that defence was struck out as disclosing no reasonable grounds for defending the claim and as an abuse of the court’s process. In April 2021 Dr and Mrs Olukoya obtained summary judgment against Ms Badejo; an injunction was granted preventing Ms Badejo from publishing any of the allegations she had made against Dr Olukoya and Mrs Olukoya; and damages were ordered to be determined at a later date. On 22 October 2021 the court determined the damages payable by Ms Badejo, and she was ordered to pay damages of £65,000 to Dr Olukoya and £35,000 to Mrs Olukoya as compensation for the wrong they have suffered.

REASONS

1. On Friday 22 October 2021 I gave judgment in relation to the application made by the second and third claimants (together “the claimants”) for damages and an order under section 12 of the 2013 Act. The claimants were represented by counsel and the defendant acted in person. The order I made on 22 October 2021 recorded the damages that the defendant was ordered to pay the claimants and ordered the defendant to publish a summary of the court’s judgment pursuant to section 12 of the 2013 Act, together with directions in relation to that aspect of the order.

 

2. In relation to the relief sought by the claimants under section 12 of the 2013 Act, at the hearing on 22 October 2021, Mr Price for the claimants produced: a. a two page draft summary of the judgment; and
b. a draft Order.

3. In relation to the draft summary I directed that the defendant should have the opportunity to consider it, and to respond by 10am on Monday 25 October 2021.

 

4. As to Mr Price’s draft Order, this identified 10 different social media accounts in which the claimants sought an order that the defendant should publish the judgment under section

4

 

 

12(4) of the 2013 Act. I asked the defendant whether these accounts were under her control, and she told me that they were. She referred to them “my channels” and informed the court that she should not be required to publish any summary of the judgment on them. She did not argue that it was not possible for her to do so, or that there was any reason why she could not do so.

 

5. Further, these social media accounts are referred to: a. in paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Particulars of Claim dated 30 October 2020 (Supplementary Bundle, Volume 1 at Tab 2);
b. paragraph 18 of the first witness statement of the second claimant dated 14 October 2021 (Supplementary Bundle, Volume 1 at Tab 13, p. 64).

6. It was in that context that, on 22 October 2021, the court directed that the defendant should publish a summary of the judgment – once it had been agreed, or settled by the court – by posting it on the social media accounts identified in Mr Price’s draft Order. The court also ordered that the defendant was required to ensure that such summary was accessible for a period of 10 days. In making this direction, Mr Price did not direct my attention to any of the authorities in relation to the court’s jurisdiction under section 12 of the 2013 Act: see, for example, Monir v Wood [2018] EWHC 3524 (QB), Nicklin J (at paragraphs 238-244) (“Monir”). In any event, that aspect of the Order was not drawn up following the hearing for the reasons set out below.

 

7. The parties were unable to agree a summary of the judgment. I have therefore been provided with the summaries prepared by each party, which I am required to settle. Each summary is far too long. The court’s judgment can be summarised much more briefly. The summary settled by the court is at Annex 1 to this Order.

 

8. On 25 October 2021 the defendant, when she sent the court her proposed summary of the judgment, also notified the court that she did not agree with Mr Price’s version of the draft Order, and provided her own version of the Order. In relation to the relief under section 12(4) of the 2013 Act, the defendant’s draft Order seeks to limit the number of social media accounts on which the draft summary of the judgment should be published to three. The defendant said that she should only be required to publish the summary of the judgment on the following accounts, namely: a. the Facebook page in the name of Maureen Badejo @maureenbadejosblog https://www.facebook.com/maureenbadejosblog/
b. the Facebook account in the name, “Maureen.Badejo.587”; https://www.facebook.com/maureen.badejo.587

5c. the YouTube channel entitled, “MaureenBadejosBlog TV”; https://youtube.com/c/MaureenbadejosblogTV

9. Further, the claimant’s proposed draft summary of the judgment ran to over 800 words. Mindful that section 12(4) provides that “If the parties cannot agree on the time, manner, form and place of publication, the court may give such directions as to those matters as it considers reasonable and practicable in the circumstances” on 26 October 2021 my clerk sent the following message to the parties on my behalf:

 

“Thank you for the draft Orders, and proposed wording from the parties of the summary of the judgment to be annexed to the Order. This wording will be settled by the court under section 12(3) of the Defamation Act 2013.

I note that the defendant has limited the proposed place of publication to two identified Facebook accounts and one YouTube channel (see paragraph 4 of her draft order). Please can the claimants briefly explain why, under section 12(4) of the Defamation Act 2013, it is reasonable and practicable to have a summary (which is more than 800 words long in the claimants’ proposed draft) published in the four further social media accounts identified in their draft order, including a Twitter Account (which has limited word count). Please can the claimants provide this explanation by 4pm on Wednesday 27 October 2021. The defendant has until 10am on Thursday 28 October 2021 to serve any response to the claimants’ answer to this question.

In the meantime, in the light of the conflicting wording of the summary of the judgment, and the places of publication, which the court is required to settle, the relief under section 12 of the Defamation Act 2013 will be recorded in a separate order. The Order recording the damages award is attached and will be sent to the Associate for sealing.”

10. On 27 October 2021 the claimants responded by email identifying the 10 social media accounts they maintain the section 12(4) order should relate to and stating that:

 

“All of the statements complained of and referred to at paragraph 12 of the claimants’ particulars of claim were broadcast live by the defendant on accounts 1,2, 5 and 6. Most of the broadcasts were then reposted on the defendant’s personal Facebook page being account 3. The defendant also reposts her broadcast videos on her personal Facebook account being account 4. The defendant has reposted the links to and her broadcasts on her Twitter accounts (no. 9 above) so that Twitter users can watch her videos directly by clicking on them on Twitter. The defendant has also repeated the statements complained of on her Gio TvInstagram account being account 8. The defendant has a website (number 10 above) in the name of Gio Tv where she has made articles about the claimants repeating the statements complained of and reposting links to her videos about the claimants on her website.

 

With respect to Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, we would propose that the defendant publish the summary by posting on those accounts a link to the summary as published on her website and/or Facebook.

11. The defendant’s response contained in her written submissions is that she should not be required to publish the summary of the judgment on the social media platforms owned by Global Interdenominational Outreach UK (GIO TV), which is a registered company in the UK, and is not a party to the claim. The defendant says that she is distinct from the company that she works for and it is sufficient for the summary of the judgment to be published on her Facebook account in the name “Marueen.Badejo.587” and the YouTube channel entitled “MaureenBadejosBlog TV”.

 

12. It is clear from the information set out in the Particulars of Claim that some of the social media accounts identified by Mr Price for the claimants have a substantial following and there is a realistic prospect that publication of a summary of the judgment will come to the attention of any of those to whom the original libel was published. However, some do not have such a substantial following, and the numbers of followers are much more limited.

 

13. In these circumstances and, in particular, having considered: a. Monir (at paragraphs 238-244);
b. the claimants’ revised proposal that “with respect to Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, we would propose that the defendant publish the summary by posting on those accounts a link to the summary as published on her website and/or Facebook” (see their solicitors’ email dated 27 October 2021, timed at 13.29);
c. the defendant’s written submissions; and
d. the followers identified of the various social media accounts in the Particulars of Claim dated 30 October 2021

I do not consider it is reasonable under section 12(4) of the 2013 Act to order the defendant to publish the summary of the judgment on all 10 social media sites identified by the claimants and, in particular, on the Twitter and Instagram account identified and on the You Tube channel of Gio TV.

14. Having said that, the defendant is not entitled re-argue matters decided by the court on 22 October 2021, namely that the summary of the judgment be published on the social media accounts of Gio TV. As the claimants correctly point out her connection with Gio TV is set out in terms in the particulars of claim (see paragraph 12) and they obtained summary judgment on their claim in front of Master Thornett in April 2021. The publication of the defendant’s videos on, for example, Gio TV’s Facebook attracted a substantial (133,878), as did the publication on the Facebook account of Gio TV Foundation (12,862). Further, at the hearing before me on 22 October 2021, the defendant accepted these accounts were under her control, and she described them as “my channels”. It is therefore appropriate for the defendant to publish a summary of the judgment to the audience following those accounts, and also on Gio TV’s website and the other three social media accounts that she agreed to publish on in her version of the draft Order.

15. It is for these reasons I have made the directions under section 12 of the 2013 Act in the form set out in this Order.

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