Appeals Court orders Chef Wan to pay RM150,000 in damages to ex-son-in-law for defamation

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal on Thursday ordered celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail or Chef Wan to pay RM150,000 in damages to his former son-in-law Gavin Edward O’Luanaigh over defamatory publications against the latter on social media platforms.

The court’s three-member panel comprising Justices Datuk Azizah Nawawi, Datuk Lim Chong Fong and Datuk Wong Kian Kheong allowed O’Luanaigh’s appeal to overturn a High Court’s decision which had ruled that the alleged statements made by the chef were not defamatory of O’Luanaigh.

In delivering the court’s decision, Justice Azizah ordered Chef Wan to pay RM150,000 in general, aggravated and exemplary damages to O’Luanaigh, and RM40,000 in costs for proceedings in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

She also granted a perpetual injunction prohibiting the chef from publishing defamatory statements of his former Irish son-in-law.

She also ordered Chef Wan to pay a 5% per annum interest from the date of filing of the writ of summons until the final settlement of the judgment sum.

In delivering the court’s broad grounds, Justice Wong said the court found that the postings had defamed O’Luanaigh.

He also said the chef had breached an undertaking to the court not to post the defamatory statements against O’Luanaigh.

O’Luanaigh, whose Muslim name is Salahudin Ghaffar, was married to Chef Wan’s actress daughter, Serina, in 2010 before their divorce in August 2017.

He filed the suit in February 2021 claiming that eight social media postings by his former father-in-law were on him and his present wife and were defamatory of them.

In his statement of defence, Chef Wan said the statements published in the postings were based on facts, were fair comments, protected by absolute and qualified privileges and were made without malicious intent.

On May 11, 2023, the Shah Alam High Court partly allowed O’Luanaigh’s claim for an injunction to restrain his former father-in-law from publishing any libellous and false allegations against him.

The High Court judge Rozi Bainon also ordered Chef Wan to remove all eight postings complained of by O’ Luanaigh. The judge, however, held that the impugned statements were not defamatory of O’Luanaigh and were not published with malicious intent.

O’Luanaigh was represented by lawyers Nur Khidmah Huzaisham and Nur Dalilah Zainol Abidin while Datuk M. Reza Hassan represented Chef Wan. - Bernama

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