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Parties agree costs in defamation case

AN agreement has been reached between a musician and a newspaper over legal costs related to her failed action against the paper for breach of privacy and defamation, the High Court has heard.

Ruth Hickey (36), of Archer's Wood, Castaheany, Dublin 15, had sued the 'Sunday World' over articles published about her, her newborn child and her partner David Agnew, estranged husband of stage performer Twink (Adele King).

She claimed the repetition in two articles of words used in a voicemail message and a scrapped interview between Twink and the late Gerry Ryan meant she was a prostitute and her son a bastard.

Last week, High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns rejected Ms Hickey's breach of privacy and defamation claims but added that the articles in the paper "represented the lowest standards of journalism imaginable".

He said he was making these remarks in the context of an application for costs on the matter, which he adjourned until yesterday when Eoin McCullough for the 'Sunday World', said the parties had reached an agreement about the case costs.

The case was heard over four days in the High Court last July.

Ms Hickey's action first arose out of photographs taken of her, Mr Agnew, and their newborn son as they left the Births, Marriages and Deaths office in Dublin on May 10, 2006.

Two articles were later published, including comments made by Twink during what the judge described as a "notoriously abusive" message she left on Mr Agnew's phone and which has received 193,000 'hits' on YouTube. In it, she referred to Ms Hickey as a whore and her child as a bastard.

On the question of defamation, the judge said that in the first article, in which the word 'whore' was used, the context was clear. He said he was satisfied that any reasonable reader would simply see it as vulgar abuse "expressed in strong and offensive terms".

Irish Independent