In Watters v Independent Star  IECC 1 (3 November 2010) Matthews J in the Circuit Court handed down the first reserved decision under the Defamation Act, 2009 (also here). We will soon have the second. The politician Michael Lowry TD (pictured left) has taken a defamation action against journalist Sam Smyth over comments Smyth made in an article in the Irish Independent newspaper last May and on TV3 last June. I’ve already blogged about an earlier procedural skirmish in the case. The full action was heard today. According to the RTÉ news website (with links added by me to the relevant sections of the 2009 Act):
Mr Lowry says that Mr Smyth’s assertions portrayed him as corrupt, dishonest and untrustworthy and both unfit and unsuitable to be a minister or a TD. He said that other people had taken this same meaning from Mr Smyth’s comments. Mr Lowry says the comments were false and as such were deeply offensive and defamatory.
Mr Lowry is seeking that the court make a number of orders including that Mr Smyth apologise, publish a correction and refrain from making such public comments in the future. However, Mr Smyth is arguing that the comments made by him were true and represented his honest opinion. He said that they were fair and reasonable comments on a matter of public interest.
Judgment has been reserved, and is expected early next term.
Update (18 December 2010): From the Irish Times: Journalist says he called TD a tax cheat not a thief