Tuesday 21 November 2017

Bid to block reports on privacy case fails

Tim Healy

A HIGH Court defamation and breach of privacy action by the partner of pantomime star Twink's ex-husband has been adjourned until tomorrow after a judge was told the newspaper involved in the action would not be calling any witnesses.

As the evidence was concluded, High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said he would take legal submissions from lawyers for Ruth Hickey (36) and the 'Sunday World' tomorrow.

He also rejected an application for reporting restrictions on the case after Ms Hickey's counsel, Turlough O'Donnell, said the manner in which the court case was being reported was a further breach of her privacy.

Mr O'Donnell said Ms Hickey had a constitutional right to privacy and he would be seeking that the manner in which the case is being reported be admitted when the issue of damages is being dealt with.

In the meantime, Mr O'Donnell said, he was asking the court to hear a separate application for reporting restrictions to be imposed as the case was still before the court.

This case did not just relate to breach of privacy by the publication of photographs of Ms Hickey and her son, but to other material which was published, Mr O'Donnell said.

Mr Justice Kearns said he saw no value in sitting to hear an application to impose reporting restrictions.

He added that he was aware of the sensitivities in this case and it was an important one in which the right to privacy had to be balanced with freedom of speech.

Ms Hickey, Archer's Wood, Castaheany, Dublin 15, claims her constitutional and European Convention rights to privacy -- and those of her son -- were breached when photos of her, Mr Agnew and her baby leaving a births registry office were published.

She also says she was defamed by the use of the word 'whore' in the article.

The 'Sunday World' denies the claims.

Irish Independent

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