Thursday 19 September 2019

Jury in Nicky Kehoe defamation action sent home

RTÉ presenter Claire Byrne arrives at the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts
RTÉ presenter Claire Byrne arrives at the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

The jury in a defamation action by Sinn Féin political manager, Nicky Kehoe, has been sent home until Monday.

After more than nine hours of deliberation, Mr Justice Bernard Barton told the jury everybody was to be back in the High Court on Monday.

The case will go into its eight day on Monday.

Mr Kehoe claims RTÉ defamed him when it broadcast comments  by former Labour Party TD, Joe Costello, during a live "Saturday with Claire Byrne" radio programme on October 24, 2015.

Mr Costello said a former IRA chief of staff was directing SF members of Dublin City Council how to vote at monthly meetings.  Mr Kehoe's name was first mentioned by another radio panellist, then SF councillor  now Deputy Eoin Ó'Broin, who went on to defend Mr Kehoe before Mr Costello withdrew the claim and said instead Mr Kehoe "was" a senior IRA member.  Mr Kehoe was not on the radio panel.

RTE denied he was defamed and said it is not liable for the matters he complained of.

Mr Kehoe said he had spent 26 years rebuilding his reputation since his release from his last prison sentence for weapons possession and this was undone in "one swipe".

The foremen jury told the judge after lunch on Friday they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict and the judge directed them to go and consider reaching a majority of nine or more.

The jury returned to court twice to ask questions about the issue paper they were given in order to consider their verdict. 

At 8pm, Mr Justice Barton said the hour was late, "blood sugars are low", and he wanted them to return to resume their deliberations on Monday.

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