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Muwema V Facebook

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Lavelle Solicitors successfully represented Fred Muwema, a prominent lawyer in Uganda in High Court proceedings against Facebook. The High Court ruled that Facebook must reveal the name of the Ugandan Activist who has been posting defamatory allegations of corruption against Mr Muwema under the pseudonym Tom Voltaire Okwalinga (“TVO”).

The case was heard in Dublin as it is where the relevant division of Facebook is based. Facebook users outside the United States and Canada, such as users located in Uganda, enter into an agreement with Facebook Ireland when they register an account to use the Facebook service. This means that any Facebook users outside the United States and Canada who wish to take court proceedings against Facebook must do so in Ireland before the Irish Courts.

Mr Muwema lodged the claim following a post on Facebook alleging that a break-in in Mr Muwema’s offices had been staged. It also accused him of accepting bribes and receiving protection from special forces during a legal case taken by Amama Mbabazi, a former Prime Minister, which challenged the result of the presidential election results. Mr Muwema denied the allegations.

Lavelle Solicitors successfully obtained a Norwich Pharmacal Order against Facebook, on foot of an interlocutory application, disclosing the identity and details of the party posting defamatory comments on the TVO Facebook Page. This was one of the first applications of this kind in the jurisdiction.

This Norwich Pharmacal Order now permits our client to issue defamation proceedings against the Activist.

Lavelle Solicitors team was led by Ciarán Leavy, Partner. For more information contact cleavy@lavellesolicitors.ie