Monday 20 January 2020

Partner of Twink's ex-husband must wait for ruling

Tim Healy

THE partner of Twink's ex-husband will have to wait until October for a decision from the High Court on her defamation and breach of privacy case.

Ruth Hickey (36) is claiming she was defamed and that her family's privacy invaded by the 'Sunday World'. She said two articles published by the paper in 2006 were a "gross invasion" of her and her son's privacy.

Yesterday, her barrister Turlough O'Donnell told High Court president Nicholas Kearns that it can not be permissible under the Constitution to photograph a mother and her young son and then use words suggesting she is a whore and the child a bastard.

Mr O'Donnell asked the court to award aggravated, exemplary and punitive damages against the paper on the closing day of the case.

Judge Kearns said he hoped to give his decision at the start of the next law term in October after he heard legal submissions from both sides.

Ms Hickey of Archer's Wood, Castaheany, Dublin 15, says she was defamed by the use of the word "whore" in the paper when it published details in 2006 of a voicemail message by the panto star Twink (Adele King) in which she used the word to describe Ms Hickey.


She is also claiming her constitutional right to privacy, and that of her newborn son, was breached when the paper published photos of her, the child, and the baby's father, David Agnew leaving the Births, Marriages and Deaths office in Dublin in May 2006.

Mr O'Donnell said privacy cases successfully taken by model Naomi Campbell over her attendance at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, and one taken by Princess Caroline of Monaco against paparazzi intrusion, showed the issue of a public place was not determinative of whether privacy was invaded.

Mr O'Donnell also disagreed that because Ms Hickey told a journalist she was expecting a baby, this granted "open season" to the press on her privacy.

Eoin McCullough, for the newspaper, said the Naomi Campbell and Princess Caroline cases were "entirely different" from this case as, in the Campbell case, the tenor of a decision in her favour was that it interfered with her recovery, while in the Caroline case, it was about a person being chased by the media.

It was denied Ms Hickey was under surveillance and it was a fact that information about her and her baby was in the public domain because it was freely available in the registry office, Mr McCullough said.

Irish Independent

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