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No evidence upon which a jury could reasonably find that a report was not “fair and accurate”

By: James Cross BL

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High Court withdraws defamation action from a jury, on the grounds that the newspaper report of what happened was 100% accurate and accords with the decision recorded in the court minute book and conviction orders record, and there is no evidence upon which a jury, properly charged, could reasonably find that the report is not “fair and accurate”.

Defamation - application brought by the defendant at the conclusion of the evidence to withdraw the case from the jury on the basis that no reasonably minded jury, properly charged, could find that the article, the subject matter of the proceedings, is anything other than a fair and accurate report of the proceedings in Kilkenny District Court - text of the article - plaintiff claims that the article wrongly identifies him as the Michael Reilly convicted before the court on the basis that he is the only Michael Reilly residing at Ballycullen, Mullinahone, Tipperary and that his reputation has consequently been damaged – proceedings - Defamation Act, 2009 - undisputed facts in these proceedings - evidence relevant to this application - law on absolute privilege - no dispute but that issues of fact are matters solely for the jury to decide whilst issues of law rest solely with the trial judge – whether there are questions of fact upon which the question of law depends - whether or not Sergeant Gordon gave oral evidence of the address of the accused Michael Reilly - plaintiff’s legal advisors appear to accept that if the jury were so satisfied, then the defence of absolute privilege has been made out and the plaintiff’s action fails - abundantly clear that the decision of the District Court judge was to disqualify the accused from driving for six years together with the imposition of a three- month custodial sentence, suspended for twelve months on terms, having taken into account the accused’s previous convictions - reporting of what happened was 100% accurate and accords with the decision recorded in the court minute book and conviction orders record - satisfied that there is no evidence upon which a jury, properly charged, could reasonably find that the report is not “fair and accurate” – case withdrawn from the jury –

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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