Kean -v- Independent Star Ltd., [2018] IEHC 206 (2018)

Docket Number:2016 2573 P
Party Name:Kean, Independent Star Ltd.
 
FREE EXCERPT

THE HIGH COURT[2016 No. 2573 P.]

BETWEEN

GERALD KEAN PLAINTIFFAND

INDEPENDENT STAR LTDDEFENDANT

Ex-tempore Judgment of Mr Justice Barr delivered on the 19th day of April, 2018.

Background.

  1. For the purposes of this application, it is only necessary to set out the background to this case in brief detail. The plaintiff is a practising solicitor. By a Plenary Summons issued on 22nd March, 2016, he issued proceedings against the defendant, which is the owner and publisher of a newspaper known as "The Irish Daily Star". The plaintiff is suing for damages, including aggravated and/or exemplary damages, for defamation in respect of an article which was written by a journalist employed by the defendant, which referred to the plaintiff and was published in the defendant's newspaper published on 11th March, 2016.

  2. It is not necessary to go into the content of the article in depth. Suffice it to say that it is alleged by the plaintiff that the article meant and was understood to mean that his offices had been searched by the police because they felt that he had had some dealings with a well-known criminal drug gang.

  3. A full defence has been filed on behalf of the defendant. It denies that the article contains the defamatory meanings alleged by the plaintiff. The defence goes on to plead that the material complained of was fair and reasonable publication on a matter of public importance. The defence further pleads that the defendant will rely upon the defence of truth pursuant to s.16 of the Defamation Act 2009.

  4. This application arises out of an order for discovery which was made by this Court on 20th February, 2017. Under the terms of that order, the defendant was directed to make discovery, inter alia, of the following:-

    "All documents in the power possession or procurement of the defendant its servants or agents and in particular in the power possession or procurement of Michael O'Toole evidencing and/or referencing and/or identifying and/or referring to information available to them between 7th March, 2016 and 11th March, 2016 (inclusive) concerning the preparation and/or investigation and/or publication by the defendant of the article about the plaintiff."

  5. In purported compliance with that Order, Mr Des Gibson, managing editor at the Irish Daily Star newspaper, swore and Affidavit of Discovery on 13th April, 2017. In the second part of the first schedule, he set out documents under category 3 as being “Emails Michael O’Toole to the Star...

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