High Court dismisses Lowry defamation appeal

Friday 10 February 2012 22.24
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Sam Smyth said he was happy with the outcome
Sam Smyth said he was happy with the outcome
Michael Lowry was not in court to hear the verdict
Michael Lowry was not in court to hear the verdict

The High Court has dismissed an appeal from Independent TD Michael Lowry for a summary ruling in a defamation case over comments made by journalist Sam Smyth.

Mr Lowry had been seeking a corrective order and an apology from the journalist who refused to give such undertakings.

Afterwards, the journalist said he was happy with the outcome and said it represented a good day for his profession.

Michael Lowry was not in court today, but said he had been meeting his legal team who advised him that further legal options are open to him.

The case centred around an article written by the journalist in the Irish Independent and comments he made on TV3 when he said Mr Lowry had been "caught with his hand in the till".

Mr Lowry had argued that the words used by the journalist were understood to mean that he was a thief, and a corrupt politician.

Mr Smith said the comments were true in their natural and ordinary meaning and consisted of an honest opinion. In his affidavit, the journalist also pointed to information gleaned from information from proceedings in the Moriarty Tribunal.

Late last year, the Circuit Court ruled that Mr Lowry had not established that Mr Smyth had no defence to the allegations of defamation.

Delivering his judgment today, High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns agreed and said it seems clear that the defendant has a good arguable case in respect of both publications.

He said he noted that Mr Lowry in his various affidavits did not dispute that he engaged in tax fraud.

Mr Justice Kearns also said that while a Tribunal of Inquiry has no evidential value in other proceedings, he said their findings can act as a roadmap for others with an interest in the subject matter.