Priest's libel case 'to proceed normally'
Published 09/07/2011 | 05:00
THE High Court has refused to reduce the time given to RTE to file its defence to allegations on a 'Prime Time' programme that a former missionary priest raped an underage girl.
Mr Justice Sean Ryan said there was nothing exceptional about the libel case being brought by Fr Kevin Reynolds against the broadcaster and it must proceed through the High Court in the normal way.
Lawyers for Fr Reynolds earlier this week sought an order that RTE file a defence within 14 days because, despite several letters, they claimed, the broadcaster had not addressed the issue. Yesterday, counsel for RTE said there were many serious libel actions before the courts and there was nothing exceptional about this case to justify the plaintiff's application.
Rejecting the plaintiff's application, Mr Justice Ryan added that if RTE failed to file a defence within the 28 days, it was open to Fr Reynolds to make an application during the court summer vacation sittings.
Fr Reynolds is suing over a 'Prime Time Investigates' programme on May 23, which claimed he raped an underage girl and fathered a daughter with her when she was a maid in a house he frequented in Africa.
Fr Reynolds, of Mill Hill Missionaries, St Joseph's House, Orwell Park, Rathgar, Dublin, has agreed to a request from his Mill Hill Missionaries Society superiors to step down from his ministry in the parish of Ahascragh, Co Galway, and leave his home there as a result of the "false accusations" levelled against him by RTE pending an investigation, according to court documents.