Irish Independent jail threat lifted

The Irish High Court has rejected an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions to imprison Irish Independent editor Vincent Doyle and to sequester the newspaper’s assets over publication of an article in the paper.

The article dealt with the case of a man due to be charged with child abuse and was published before his trial took place. The DPP complained to the court that the article constituted criminal contempt. Lawyers for the Independent maintained it had been written in good faith and there had been no intention to interfere with the administration of justice.

In his judgment, the judge said that given the “graphic nature” of the article, it could, if it had been published close to the trial, have affected it.

But he said as it was not on the eve of a trial, the possibility of a jury being influenced by it was “quite remote”.

The judge also said that he found no mischievous intent on the part of the journalist who had written the article and he added that a major consideration was the length of time between publication and the date of trial.

By Des Cryan

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