Defamation : Odok to appear in court or be sent to jail

Mr. Joseph Odok

Justice Imelda B. Etape of the Cross River State High Court sitting in Calabar has ordered former Lecturer in the department of Philosophy, University of Calabar, Mr. Joseph Odok to appear before her and defend the case of defamation of character filed against him or be committed to prison.

In a suit number HC/363/2018 and brought before the court by Prof. Zana Akpagu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Odok was listed as first Defendant/Respondent while Facebook was listed as second Defendant/Respondent.

The presiding Judge, Justice Etape granted the prayers of the applicant to serve Odok the summon through substituted means to appear before the court to defend the allegations against him.

Form 48 which is a court notice on disobedience of court oder was also issued against Odok by the Judge.

Etape ordered that "Leave be and is hereby granted to the claimant/Applicant to serve form 48 on the defendant/Respondent by substituted means, through publication in a national daily or the Facebook platform on the second Defendant/Respondent".

Such service shall be deemed good and proper in the circumstances to bring the said 1st Defendant/Respondent to the knowledge of form 48".

The Judge warned Odok that "Take note that unless you obey the directives contained in this order you will be guilty of contempt and will be liable to be committed to prison".

Recall that last year, the Calabar High Court issued an injunction stopping Odok from posting any defamatory information on any social media platform against the complainant, Prof. Akpagu.

Checks by Fearless Reports has however revealed that Odok, through his Facebook account @Joseph Odok has blatantly disobeyed the order as he continued making frivolous and malicious publication on social media against Prof. Akpagu.

Since the matter was instituted in court in January last year, Odok has allegedly been avoiding summon but the court has now granted the prayers of the applicant to use a substituted means to serve  him the orders.

Subsequently, the Claimant has published the order asking Odok to appear before the court to defend the allegations against him as well as explain why he should not be committed to prison for disobedience of court order was published in Sun Newspaper and on Facebook on Thursday, April 18, 2019.

The matter was adjourned to the 5th of June, 2019 for report of service.
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