Thursday 20 October 2016

Dana case 'won't go ahead if legal security required'

Tim Healy

Published 13/10/2016 | 02:30

Dana Rosemary Scallon. Pic: Courts Collins
Dana Rosemary Scallon. Pic: Courts Collins

A sister and niece of former presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallan will be unable to proceed with defamation actions against her if the court requires them to provide security for her legal costs, the High Court has been told.

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If the court grants Dana orders requiring Susan Stein and Susan Gorrell provide the €425,000 security sought by Dana, their cases will be at an end, their counsel Jim O'Callaghan SC said, adding:"The objective here is to try to kill the proceedings."

Counsel said security for costs should be refused on grounds including that Dana has no strong defence to defamation, the cases are in the public interest and his clients had put "after the event" insurance cover in place, which would meet Dana's costs and expenditure, estimated by the plaintiffs at €165,000.

In their civil actions, for which trial dates have yet to be fixed, Ms Stein and her daughter Ms Gorrell, both living in Iowa, US, allege that Dana defamed them in a TV3 interview on October 14, 2011, during the presidential campaign.

Both women claim that Dana made statements which meant they maliciously made up claims that Ms Gorrell was sexually abused between 1971 and 1981 by her uncle, John Brown, a brother of Dana.

They claim that the allegations of abuse are true.

The court has heard that Mr Brown, of Bracknell, Berkshire, England, was cleared in 2014 of all charges of indecent assault brought against him arising from a complaint made to the UK police in 2011 by Ms Gorrell.

Mr Justice Robert Eager heard further arguments on Wednesday on Dana's application for security for costs.

The court has heard Dana denies defamation on grounds including that she did not name the plaintiffs and what she said in the interview did not mean what the plaintiffs allege.

Her counsel, Oisín Quinn, said those pleas, along with other pleas of truth, justification and honest opinion in relation to parts of the claim amount to a bona fide defence.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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