Sunday 4 December 2016

Newspapers settle case over semen claim in killing trial

Aoife Finneran

Published 18/11/2011 | 05:00

Wayne O'Donoghue and his father Ray listen to solicitor Frank
Buttimer make a statement outside the court yesterday
Wayne O'Donoghue and his father Ray listen to solicitor Frank Buttimer make a statement outside the court yesterday
Robert's parents Mark and Majella Holohan
Victim Robert Holohan

TWO newspapers have told the High Court that they acknowledge there was no evidence that the semen found on schoolboy Robert Holohan's body was that of Wayne O'Donoghue.

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Mr O'Donoghue, who was convicted in December 2005 of the manslaughter of his neighbour Robert Holohan, had brought proceedings against Sunday Newspapers Ltd, which publishes the 'Sunday World', and Independent Newspapers Ltd, publisher of the 'Evening Herald'.

He had claimed he was libelled by the content of articles published by both newspapers in 2006 in relation to the killing of Robert Holohan in January 2005 in Midleton, Co Cork. In their defences, the two papers denied there had been a libel.

Mr Justice Eamon de Valera was told the action had been settled on terms agreed between the parties. As part of the settlement, a statement was read out on behalf of both newspapers, acknowledging there was no evidence that semen found on Robert Holohan's body was that of Mr O'Donoghue.

Speaking outside the court, Mr O'Donoghue's solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said: "The reaction of my client is that he's pleased that there has been an acknowledgement in court that the material which was published or any implication drawn from the material which was published has been accepted as being what it is, that it was inaccurate."

Mr Buttimer added: "The publications have been gracious enough to acknowledge that by their acknowledgement in court here today.

"It has been a very, very difficult matter for all concerned, not least for the family of Robert Holohan, certainly for Wayne O'Donoghue and his family.

"Wayne and his family are pleased that there has been an acknowledgment on today's date and as far as he's concerned that concludes those matters."

In response to the statement by Mr Buttimer, a joint statement from Michael Denieffe, Managing Editor, Independent Newspapers and Colm MacGinty, editor of the 'Sunday World', reiterated the statement read out in open court that was part of the settlement, which acknowledged that there was no evidence that semen found on the body of Robert Holohan was that of Wayne O'Donoghue.

The statement also thanked the late Robert Holohan's parents, Majella and Mark, for attending the hearing.

"We take this opportunity to acknowledge their courage and dignity," the statement said.

Irish Independent

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