Mangan -v- Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd, [2003] IESC 5 (2003)

Docket Number:72/02
Party Name:Mangan, Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd
Judge:McCracken J.

THE SUPREME COURT72/2002Geoghegan JFennelly JMcCracken JBetween:Joseph ManganPlaintiff/RespondentANDIndependent Newspapers (Ireland) LtdDefendant/AppellantJudgment of Mr Justice McCracken delivered the 31st day of January 2003._________________________________________________________________Background___________The plaintiff, who is a judge of the District Court, sued the defendant for libel arising out of an article published in the Sunday Independent on 22nd March 1998. The defendant defended the action on three grounds, namely, that the words did not bear the meaning for which the plaintiff contended, that they were fair comment on a matter of public interest and that they were true in substance and in fact.The action came on for trial on 8th November 2000, before Barr J and a jury. On the second day of the trial Counsel for the plaintiff objected to certain elements of the opening of the defence by Counsel for the defendant and asked that the jury be discharged. Barr J accepted the validity of the objection, and there was considerable discussion as to whether the jury should be discharged or whether the learned Judge should attempt to rectify the situation by addressing the jury. In the end the learned trial Judge decided to discharge the jury and he awarded the costs of the hearing to the plaintiff.The defendant appealed this order to the Supreme Court and by order of the Supreme Court dated 25th July 2001, the appeal was allowed and the Supreme Court discharged so much of the order of the High Court as ordered the defendant to pay the plaintiff's costs and further ordered that the plaintiff pay the defendant the costs of the appeal. In relation to the costs of the hearing of the High Court the Supreme Court order provided:-"IT IS ORDERED that the costs of the hearing in the High Court do abide the outcome of the retrial directed in the said order."The retrial commenced on 12th February 2002, before Carroll J and a jury, and after a hearing lasting for six days the jury found in favour of the plaintiff and awarded him damages in the sum of 25,000. In the course of the retrial the learned trial Judge had withdrawn the defences of fair comment and justification from the jury. Argument then took place before the learned trial Judge in relation to both the costs of the trial which had just taken place and the costs of the aborted trial before Barr J. The learned trial Judge reserved her decision on the question of costs overnight and on 27th February 2002, decided that the plaintiff should recover the costs of the entire action on the Circuit Court scale and should also recover the costs of the aborted trial on the Circuit Court scale. In both cases with a certificate for Senior Counsel. She also refused to make an order under s.17 (5) of the Courts Act 1981. The defendants have appealed the decision of the learned trial Judge in...

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