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Newspapers fined after trial collapse

TWO national newspapers have been ordered to pay compensation and a fine after articles they published led to the collapse of a trial of a former GP.

The trial of Paschal Carmody collapsed on its 17th day on April 28 this year after reports appeared in 'The Irish Times' and the 'Irish Examiner' which detailed matters discussed in the absence of the jury.

Mr Carmody (62), of Ballycuggeran, Killaloe, had pleaded not guilty at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court to nine charges of obtaining more than €16,000 by deception from the families of two terminally ill cancer patients under the pretence that he could cure their cancer.

Yesterday Judge Donagh McDonagh made an order against both newspapers under the Criminal Justice Act requiring them to pay compensation in respect of the loss suffered by the accused, Mr Carmody, The DPP and the Courts Service and a fine of €2,500 each.

Judge McDonagh said: "The newspapers in question are guilty of the criminal offence of contempt of court as a direct result the trial was brought to a halt.

"It is painfully obvious this caused a loss to the accused Paschal Carmody, the DPP and the Court Service," he added.

The court also heard that due to the collapse of the trial the accused had personally incurred costs of between €300,000 and €400,000.

Judge McDonagh said: "Pas-chal Carmody retained his own solicitor and counsel at no cost to the State" and the collapse of the trial was "no fault of his".

Judge McDonagh ordered counsel for all parties back before the court in November.

Irish Independent