Independent Newspapers Ireland has been fined €111,000 for contempt of court over the publication of an article which led to the collapse of a rape trial. 

Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan found there was an egregious contempt by the Irish Independent article last November.

The article was published in a spread in the newspaper, with others focusing on how rape trials in Ireland are conducted. 

The newspaper group pleaded guilty to contempt and applications against Editor-in-Chief Fionnán Sheahan and journalist Nicola Anderson were withdrawn.

The editor and the newspaper had given an unreserved apology and had already agreed to pay around €100,000 towards the costs incurred as a result of the collapse of the trial. 

Ms Justice O'Regan said the article was published while a rape trial was ongoing and had no regard to the fact that a jury was considering its verdict. She said this was nothing short of appalling.

She said she appreciated that a legal adviser had cleared the article for publication but she said she was not satisfied that any journalist could offload or "go hiding behind a lawyer" in relation to one of the central tenets on reporting restrictions surrounding such trials.

The judge said she accepted it was a matter of public interest and there appeared to be no intention to interfere with the trial. But she said the system in place was wholly inadequate. 

The purpose of the system was to ensure that the accused was not named in the article but in reality, there were reporting restrictions in relation to these offences.

She said she considered the headline figure for this case in relation to a fine for contempt of court was €175,000 but she discounted it to €111,000 to take into accounts various factors such as the fact that the article was taken down from online very quickly and the newspaper's expression of remorse.  

She said Independent Newspapers had 31 days to pay the money.