Northern Ireland news

Newspapers to pay 'substantial' damages to brother of Eurovision Song Contest winner Dana over articles

John Brown and sister Dana. Picture by Huigh Russell

THE brother of Eurovision Song Contest winner Dana will be paid `substantial' damages after receiving an apology from two newspapers for articles they published between seven and eight years ago.

Dublin's High Court sitting at Croke Park heard that two separate defamation actions taken by John Brown against the Irish Independent and the Sunday World had been settled.

Counsel for Independent News and Media, Brian Gageby, read two apologies from the Irish Independent and Sunday World to the court.

The Irish Independent said that on June 7 2013 it had wrongly reported that a bench warrant had been issued for Mr Brown's arrest when "no such warrant was ever issued" and he had attended all court appearances as required and was subsequently acquitted of all charges.

The report had been published while Mr Brown was facing historical charges of indecent assault, for which he was later acquitted.

The newspaper apologised for the "distress and harm caused to him and his family".

The Sunday World admitted "groundless allegations" were published about Mr Brown on its website and on its Facebook pages on July 10 2014 which "reflected very badly on his character, good name and reputation".

The paper said it "unreservedly" withdraws them and also apologised to him and his family.

The publications told Judge Leonie Reynolds they had agreed to pay his damages and legal costs.

Speaking after the conclusion of the court proceedings Mr Brown said it was the end of a "long hard battle for seven years".

Mr Brown described it as an "extremely emotional" day.

His solicitor Brendan Kelly said they had "set the record straight today... (and) most importantly, we have vindicated John Brown's good name".

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