Sunday 22 April 2018

Shane Phelan: Both sides claim vindication in libel battle

Tom McGuire, head of RTÉ Radio 1, and presenter Claire Byrne pictured outside the Four Courts yesterday after Nicky Kehoe was awarded €3,500 damages following a High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts
Tom McGuire, head of RTÉ Radio 1, and presenter Claire Byrne pictured outside the Four Courts yesterday after Nicky Kehoe was awarded €3,500 damages following a High Court action. Photo: Collins Courts
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

As the dust settled on the jury's verdict, both Sinn Féin political manager Nicky Kehoe and RTÉ were claiming a measure of victory. In truth, there were positives and negatives for both sides.

Mr Kehoe won his case and said his reputation had been vindicated. Although his legal team sought substantial damages, he insisted afterwards that the case was about his good name and not about money.

The €3,500 he will receive is the lowest High Court defamation award in modern times. And because the figure is so low - just a fraction of the €75,000 and above the High Court has jurisdiction to award - he now faces being penalised when the issue of legal costs is considered.

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