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No damages paid out to O'Donoghue as libel fight is settled

NO DAMAGES were paid to Wayne O'Donoghue but a contribution was made to his legal costs as part of his settlement with the Herald and another newspaper, it is understood.

At the High Court, both newspapers acknowledged there was no evidence that the semen found on schoolboy Robert Holohan's body was that of Wayne O'Donoghue.

Mr O'Donoghue, who was convicted in December 2005 of the manslaughter of his neighbour Robert Holohan, had brought proceedings against Sunday Newspapers Ltd, which publishes the Sunday World, and Independent Newspapers Ltd, publisher of the Herald.

He had claimed he was libelled by articles published by both papers in 2006 in relation to the killing of Robert Holohan in January 2005 in Midleton, Co Cork. The two papers denied there had been a libel.

At the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Eamon de Valera was told the action had been settled. As part of the settlement, a statement was read out on behalf of both newspapers, acknowledging there was no evidence that semen found on Robert Holohan's body was that of Wayne O'Donoghue.

It is understood that no damages were paid to Wayne O'Donoghue but a contribution to his legal costs was made.

Wayne O'Donoghue's solicitor Frank Buttimer said: "The reaction of my client is that he's pleased that there has been an acknowledgement in court that the material which was published or any implication drawn from the material which was published has been accepted as being what it is, that it was inaccurate. The publications have been gracious enough to acknowledge that by their acknowledgement in court here today. It has been a very, very difficult matter for all concerned, not least for the family of Robert Holohan, certainly for Wayne O'Donoghue and his family."

In response, a joint statement from Michael Denieffe, managing editor, Independent Newspapers and Colm MacGinty, editor of the Sunday World, reiterated the statement read out in open court which acknowledged that there was no evidence that semen found on the body of Robert Holohan was that of Wayne O'Donoghue. The statement also thanked Robert's parents, Majella and Mark for attending the hearing.

"We take this opportunity to acknowledge their courage and dignity," the statement said.

hnews@herald.ie


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