Northern Ireland news

Co Tipperary man who took defamation case faces six-figure legal bill

Following a High Court order that he must pay the full costs of the five day jury action, Mr Reilly is facing a legal bill of around €150,000

A CO Tipperary man who took a defamation case after a newspaper reported on a man of the same name and address being convicted of driving with no insurance, is facing a legal bill of an estimated €150,000.

Michael Reilly (62), of Ballycullen, Mullinahone, sued Iconic Newspapers, publishers of the Kilkenny People.

In its report on February 19 2016, it referred to a man of the same name and same address who was convicted of driving with no insurance.

But Mr Reilly failed in his defamation action after Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds decided there was no case for the jury to decide.

She said the article enjoyed absolute legal privilege as a fair and accurate report of court proceedings.

Yesterday she ruled he must pay the full costs of the five-day jury action, estimated to be around €150,000.

Also seeking costs, Rossa Fanning SC, for Iconic, said usually costs follow the event and there was nothing in his side's conduct before and during the case to merit departing from the rule.

The court had heard that the article was published on a Friday and on a Monday Mr Reilly's first solicitor's letter arrived at the paper.

A clarification was offered on Tuesday and again on Wednesday and was rejected.

The judge said it was unfortunate Mr Reilly did not avail of that clarification offer and have the matter resolved at the earliest opportunity.

It was also made clear to Mr Reilly by the paper's solicitor, as it had been done throughout, that the report was privileged.

The judge granted a request from Mr Callanan for a stay on her costs order in the event of an appeal but said that would be limited to August 31.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news