Saturday 19 October 2019

Solicitor Kean settles additional privacy claim over newspaper article

Mr Gerald Kean. Photo: Collins Courts
Mr Gerald Kean. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

SOLICITOR Gerald Kean, who last week was granted €160,000 damages from a High Court jury after it found he was defamed in an Irish Daily Star article, has settled an additional claim for breach of privacy arising from the article.

No details of the settlement were outlined when the matter was mentioned before Mr Justice Bernard Barton on Wednesday.

Last week, a High Court jury, by a majority of at least nine, awarded Mr Kean €160,000 damages against Independent Star Ltd after finding he was defamed in an Irish Daily Star article of March 11 2016 concerning a visit by members of the Criminal Assets Bureau to his Dublin offices.

The majority found the article, headlined ‘Kean Caught up in CAB probe’, meant Mr Kean was subject of a probe by CAB into the criminal activities of the Hutch/Kinahan gang following the Regency Hotel shootings of February 2016 and defamed him. 

After rejecting arguments by the newspaper that the article concerned a matter of public interest and it was “fair and reasonable” to publish it, they decided Mr Kean was entitled to damages of €160,000.

Mr Kean was also awarded his costs by Mr Justice Barton.

The matter was adjourned to Wednesday when the judge was due to deal with a separate claim by Mr Kean alleging that the article breached his constitutional right to privacy. That claim was not before the jury for determination.

The newspaper had also indicated to the judge, after the verdict last week, that it was considering whether to appeal the jury decision and to seek a stay on the damages order in the event of any such appeal.

Today the judge was told by Paul O’Higgins SC, with Jim O’Callaghan SC, for Mr Kean, that “peace has broken out” and the entire proceedings had been settled.

Counsel said the only order required was one striking out the entire proceedings with an order for taxation of Mr Kean’s costs, to include reserved costs and discovery and stenography, in default of agreement.

The judge said he would make those orders.

Eoin McCullough SC, for Independent Star, said such cases are “invariably difficult” and he thanked the judge for the time and courtesy afforded to the sides.

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