Haven’t had a chance to flick through the Irish News yet, but I see from the Press Gazette that the paper will have to stump up £25k to cover its legal bill despite having won an appeal in a libel trial stemming from a restaurant review it published almost a decade ago.
Yes, the Irish News should be lauded for fighting and defeating a writ which could have had such a detrimental effect on newspaper and free speech.
But not awarding costs to the Irish News creates a thorny issue, surely. Could a Mourne Observer or Fermanagh Herald afford to defend such a case if the best case scenario (being right!) results in serious financial losses?
No sum is insignificant in these times of wilting advertising spending. And more costs could be coming downstream at a retrial.
I trust the £25k costs won’t effect the freelance budget in there. Would be a shame if any part of journalism (jobs!) suffers over this case.
One thing’s for sure though. The guy behind the libel writ has done more harm to his own business that the original article could ever possibly have created. Almost 10 years on and the press are still carrying details of the poor meal Ms Workman felt she was served up at this restaurant. Ho hum.
Surely Mr Convery must be being advised to step away, save his money and not risk his reputation still further.