Sunday 17 November 2019

Paper 'made me look like a headcase' for filming birth, says dad

John McCauley and his partner, Jurgita Jachimaviciute, leaving court
John McCauley and his partner, Jurgita Jachimaviciute, leaving court
Brenda Power: wrote an article on the case

Tim Healy

A BUSINESSMAN has claimed a newspaper article about him filming the birth of his baby daughter wrongly portrayed him as "some kind of headcase running around with a camera".

John McCauley (46), who is involved in property and construction, told the High Court he was disgusted by the article written by columnist Brenda Power in the 'Sunday Times' in March 2009.

The article arose out of a separate action brought by Mr McCauley in which he sued the midwife and the hospital where the birth took place over the interruption of his filming by the midwife.

He claimed he had got permission from the doctor to film and that his partner, Jurgita Jachimaviciute, who gave birth to their first child Simone that night, had requested he film it.

He lost that action and Ms Power later wrote a comment piece about the case.

In his defamation action which opened yesterday before a jury, Mr McCauley claims the article meant he showed no consideration or care for his partner and the baby.

He also claims it meant he failed to reassure or comfort Jurgita in what was alleged by the paper to be an emergency situation, but which he says was not the case.

He also says that it meant he was motivated by self-interest with no appreciation for his role in the delivery of the baby.

The defendants deny the claims and say the article was true, fair comment and enjoyed qualified privilege.

Mr McCauley, originally from Donegal but now living in Lithunania, told the court that on the night of the birth, staff at the hospital appeared to change shift and the midwife who came on was very abrupt.

When he asked Jurgita if she was hungry, he said the midwife "turned around and said we are not feeding you".

Only that his partner was so close to giving birth, he said he would have asked for someone else to attend.

When the midwife asked him to stop filming, he said he would rather not but she asked him again and he did.

On March 1, 2009, he got a copy of the 'Sunday Times' and read Ms Power's article and said he could not believe it.

"I could not believe someone who obviously knew nothing about the court case or about what led to the case could write such a lot of nonsense. I could not see anything that was true.

"I was disgusted at the way she portrayed me as some some kind of headcase running around with a camera."

He said almost everything in the article was untrue except the fact that he had lost his case against the hospital. He felt very angry and sad.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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