Thursday 23 November 2017

Dad treated midwife appallingly, journalist tells court

Brenda Power
Brenda Power
John McCauley and Jurgita Jachimaviciute, leaving court

Tim Healy

A JOURNALIST has told the High Court she believed she was standing up for a midwife "just doing her job" when she wrote about the case of a man who sued over being interrupted for filming the moments after the birth of his first daughter.

Brenda Power, columnist with 'The Sunday Times', said she believed part of her role was to write about matters of injustice which included, she said, the fact that John McCauley had "hauled" the midwife who delivered his baby before the courts suing her for €38,000 in a case which was dismissed in 2009.

"I thought it was appalling behaviour," she said.

EVIDENCE

She was giving evidence on the second day of a defamation action by Mr McCauley against her and 'The Sunday Times' over the March 2009 article which arose out of the dismissal of a separate action taken by Mr McCauley against Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin and midwife Iris Halbach.

He had sued for breach of contract over the interruption at the hospital of his filming of the immediate aftermath of the birth of his first child Simone to his partner, Lithuanian teacher Jurgita Jachimaviciute, in September 2006.

Ms Power said while Mr McCauley had got the chance to put his side during the 2009 court case, the midwife had not.

Ms Power felt this was an injustice and she was "appalled" by him taking the case. It was "bad enough" that Mr McCauley attempted to continue to film after being asked by the midwife not to do so while she (midwife) was clearing the newborn's airwaves but to go on and sue was "unforgiveable", she said.

"It (her column) was not so much to have a go at Mr McCauley but to defend the midwife against this kind of vexatious, nasty, vindictive nonsense", she said.

Earlier, Mr McCauley, a property and construction consultant, told the court Ms Power's article described men in general in a very derogatory way.

Under cross examination by Mark Harty SC, for Ms Power and 'The Sunday Times', who deny defamation, he did not accept the opinions expressed in her piece were valid or reasonable. "The opinion I got from the complete article is that men are being described in general in a very derogatory way.

"If a woman or a man held those views of men, then it could be their opinion, but I do not think it's a reasonable opinion," he said.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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