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Le Petit Morne Ltée & Anor (Applicant) v Le Mauricien Ltée & Ors (Respondents)


Le Petit Morne Ltée & Anor (Applicant) v Le Mauricien Ltée & Ors (Respondents)

(Supreme Court – In Chambers Serial No. 1360/19)




Applicant No.1 claims to be the owner of certain plots of land situate in Le Morne and obtained a number of injunctions against local people who were allegedly interfering with its proprietary rights over the said plots of land.  

A video of full press conference which was held on 10 July 2019 by REA (a group of persons acting together under the name “Kolektif Vilaz Morne”) and the Centre for Alternative Research and Studies has been published inter alia on social media platforms of ‘Le Mauricien’.

Respondent No.1 (Veena Dholah) and Respondent No. 2 (Stephan Gua) and the local people were speakers during the said press conference and commented on a number of pending cases against them which they labelled as “persecution”.

The Applicants applied for an injunction prohibiting and restraining the Respondents from:

(i)     broadcasting a video of a joint press conference held on 10th July 2019;

(ii)     broadcasting and/or publishing online or in any whatsoever way any document, article,  interview on and/or connected to the different cases which the Applicant No.1 has lodged in relation to its property at Le Morne;

(iii)    making any public comment and/or giving any public opinion in relation to the facts of the different cases which the Applicant No.1 has lodged and which are still pending before the Court of law.

The Applicants did not insist on the prayers sought under paragraphs (ii) and (iii). Therefore the remaining issue before the Judge in Chambers was in connection with paragraph (i) above.



The Applicants contended inter alia that:

(i)   the Respondent No.2’s statements during the press conference amounted to contempt of court;

(ii)   Respondents No.1 and 2 and the local people were attempting to intimidate the Court and bring the Court process into disrepute;

(iii)   the publication of the video was calculated to interfere with the course of justice in cases which the above speakers knew to be pending;

(iv)   by publishing the said videos, Respondent No.3 (Top FM Ltd) and Respondent No.4 (Le Mauricien) committed a sub judice contempt of court.



The judge held that for the Applicants to be successful, the following three elements must be present:

(i)    there is a serious issue to be tried;

(ii)    damages will not be an adequate remedy; and

(iii)   the balance of convenience is in favour of granting the injunction.

The judge was of the view that there was a serious issue to be tried because the matter discussed by the media was still being considered by the Court and therefore there was sub judice contempt of court.

As regards the issue as to whether or not damages would be an adequate remedy, the judge noted from the outset that the Applicants’ main qualm appeared to be that the video was calculated to interfere with the course of justice and tarnish the image of the judiciary by equating the legitimate recourse to legal proceedings to acts of persecution and that the Applicants have not sought any damages from the respondents in the main case. Consequently, the judge held that damages would clearly not be adequate remedy.  

With respect to the last element, the judge decided that the balance of convenience was not in favour of granting the application on the basis of the following grounds:

(i)   the Director of Public Prosecutions did not initiate any action for contempt against the respondents; and

(ii)  more importantly, if the application is not granted but where the respondents are found to have committed contempt of court in the main case against them, the Court will mete out the appropriate penalty against the respondents by taking into consideration the length of time during which the contempt was ongoing whereas if the application is granted and the main case is decided against the Applicants, the respondents would have been deprived of their constitutional right to freedom of expression.


Attorney for Le Mauricien Ltée: Josephine Robert