€1.9m libel award 'not excessive'
COMMUNICATIONS consultant Monica Leech should not be deprived of her €1.87m libel award against Independent Newspapers, her lawyer argued in the Supreme Court yesterday.
The award made to her was not excessive, Frank Callanan SC, for Ms Leech, argued.
A jury found articles between November and December 2004 in the Evening Herald had libelled her and wrongly meant she had been having an affair with then Environment Minister Martin Cullen.
The defendant pleaded justification on the basis that the articles had an alternative meaning, raising legitimate questions on matters of public interest about how Ms Leech got government contracts.
Independent Newspapers wants the Supreme Court to set aside the award as disproportionately high and for the court to assess new damages.
Its counsel, Eoin McCullough, said Ms Leech had already received €750,000, along with €100,000 in costs, pending determination of the appeal.
The court reserved judgment.
In a second case, Ms Leech is appealing another jury's 2007 decision to dismiss another libel action she took over a report in the Irish Independent about a discussion on RTE's 'Liveline'.
Independent Newspapers opposed the appeal.
The court also reserved its decision on that matter.