Friday 20 October 2017

Hugh O’Flaherty: Kavanagh's libel case shows why judge sometimes better than jury

AT the annual Patrick Kavanagh weekend at Inniskeen recently, Patrick Walsh gave an interesting talk on the famous libel action that Kavanagh brought against the small-circulation journal 'The Leader' in 1954. The case lasted seven days in the High Court and the same on appeal to the Supreme Court.

The leading counsels of the day were engaged on all sides. John A Costello, between stints as Taoiseach, led for 'The Leader' at the trial but he had resumed his role as Taoiseach when the case went on appeal.

So what was the case about? 'The Leader' had published a long portrait of Kavanagh. The general thrust of the article can be gleaned from the first paragraphs:

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