Friday 17 August 2018

Jury in Nicky Kehoe defamation case told they can reach 'a majority verdict'

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 the defamation case by Sinn Féin political manager Nicky Kehoe have been told they can reach a majority verdict after they said this afternoon they were unable to reach a unanimous one.

After more than four hours of deliberation, which began on Thursday evening, the jury was called out by Mr Justice Bernard Barton who asked whether they could reach a unanimous decision.  The foreman said they could not.

The judge sent them back to continue deliberations and said they could now reach a majority verdict of at least nine. Only the same nine could make a decision in relation to all questions being considered by the jury.

Mr Kehoe claimed 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".

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