Sunday 11 December 2016

TV3 ordered to pay €70,000 of High Court defamation award in order to appeal decision

Tim Healy

Published 27/11/2015 | 16:37

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TV3 has been ordered to pay €70,000 of a €140,000 High Court award to a solicitor it defamed so that it can appeal the decision.

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David Christie was wrongly identified in a nine-second news report as being jailed solicitor Thomas Byrne, who Mr Christie had represented during the criminal trial. 

Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley, who earlier this month made the  €140,000 award, granted TV3 a stay on it pending appeal on condition that 50pc is paid out immediately.

She said her decision was going to have to be considered by the appeal court so that guidelines can be laid down in relation to Section 22 of the 2009 Defamation Act whereby a defendant makes an offer of amends which could be agreed between the parties or determined by a court.

The judge ordered the €70,000 be paid out within three weeks and she also put a stay on payment of 50 per cent of the costs.

In the case, TV3 said what had happened was "an innocent mistake due to an editing error" and sincere apologies were offered.   

It also offered to broadcast a clarification and apology but disputed that the piece was grossly and seriously defamatory.  

In her judgment, Ms Justice O'Malley said the allegation against Mr Christie was serious and put at risk the goodwill built up by his practice.

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