Brady v"Clonmel Chronicle" Newspaper & Printing Works Ltd

CourtSupreme Court (Irish Free State)
Judgment Date13 January 1926
Docket Number(1925. No. 14,950.)
Date13 January 1926
Brady v. "Clonmel Chronicle."
(1925. No. 14,950.)

Supreme Court.

Practice - Transfer of action - Action commenced in High Court - Transfer to Circuit Court - Action for libel - No specific sum claimed in writ - Plaintiff willing to accept apology and payment of £50 to a charity - Courts of Justice Act, 1924 (No. 10 of 1924), sect. 25.

The plaintiff, a member of several local authorities, issued a writ against the defendants, newspaper proprietors, claiming damages for libel, without specifying any amount. The libel complained of was contained in an anonymous letter published by the defendants in their newspaper. It was alleged by the plaintiff that the publication accused him, as a public representative, of having taken the course which he had adopted as part of a wilfully malicious and corrupt scheme to destroy the means of livelihood of another person. He was willing to accept an unconditional apology and the payment of the sum of £50 to a local charity. The defendants declined to comply with these terms. A motion to transfer the action to the Circuit Court having been granted by O'Shaughnessy J., the plaintiff appealed:

Held by the Supreme Court (affirming O'Shaughnessy J.), that the action ought to be transferred, as the plaintiff did not make the case that he had suffered personal loss or damage, or that there were any grounds upon which personal damages could be recovered, and so far as punitive damages were concerned, he apparently thought £50 sufficient.

Per FitzGibbon J.: Having regard to the amount which the plaintiff was willing to accept with an apology, an award of more than £300 would not, upon the materials before the Court, be considered reasonable, though when the case came to trial an entirely different aspect might be put on it by the plaintiff, justifying a verdict for exemplary damages.

Appeal from an order made by O'Shaughnessy J. on December 4th, 1925, directing that the action be transferred for trial before the Circuit Court Judge of the County of Tipperary.

The plaintiff, Allan B. Brady, was a member of Clonmel Corporation, Tipperary County Council (South Riding), and of other public bodies. He represented Labour on these bodies. The defendants were the proprietors and publishers of a newspaper called the "Clonmel Chronicle," and the action was brought in respect of an alleged libel contained in a letter signed...

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