Saturday 25 November 2017

YouTube student to appeal legal costs against him in failed action against newspapers

Eoin McKeogh
Eoin McKeogh

A STUDENT found by a judge to have been innocent of taxi fare evasion accusations made against him in a YouTube video will have to go to the Supreme Court to appeal an award of legal costs against him in a separate action against six newspapers.

Eoin McKeogh (22), a student of business and Japanese, obtained injunctions last year preventing Google, YouTube, Facebook and a number of other sites from republishing a video which falsely claimed he was a person leaving a taxi without paying the fare.

He brought separate proceedings in January last year against six newspapers arising from publicity about those injunctions and the fact that he had been named in the reports, thereby breaching the injunctions, he claimed.

Mr Justice Michael Peart, who said Mr McKeogh was completely innocent of the taxi-fare evasion accusations, found against him in relation to the newspapers naming him.

The judge also awarded costs in favour of the papers, the Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Irish Times, Irish Examiner, the Star and Sunday Times.

Today, his counsel Pauline Walley, applied for a stay on the costs order pending appeal to the Supreme Court of the judge's decision in favour of the newspapers.  It was a rare case and a matter of important public interest, she said.

There would be no prejudice to the newspapers in the granting of a stay but there would be to Mr McKeogh who would have a significant judgment entered against him if the costs order was granted, she said.

 He was student of Japanese and business whose life had been blighted by the Youtube video and by the publicity.

"There is still material on the internet suggesting he is still guilty", she said.

Lawyers for the papers opposed her application because of a delay in bringing it since the costs order was made last July.  They also said the question of a stay could only be argued before the Supreme Court at this stage.

Mr Justice Peart said he would continue a stay he gave on the execution of the costs order until the determination of an application from Mr McKeogh to the Supreme Court for a extension of time to appeal his (judge's) decision in favour of the newspapers.

Submissions about the arguability of his case will have to be ventilated as part of that application to the Supreme Court, he said.

The reasons as to why this application was not made sooner can also be set out in affidavits to the Supreme Court, he said.  In the event of an order being made extending time for appeal, it will be a matter for that court to decided whether his stay on the execution of costs should continue pending full appeal, he added.

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