O'Hagan murder suspect loses harassment case

A man who was once accused of involvement in the murder of Northern Ireland journalist Martin O’Hagan has lost a harassment claim against a newspaper.

But Mr Justice Weatherup that the Sunday World newspaper had misused some private information about Drew King in articles in published about him.

King, 42, was one of three men who were formally accused of murdering O’Hagan, a Sunday World reporter, but the charges against all three were dropped in July.

O’Hagan was shot dead near his home in Lurgan, County Armagh, in September 2001.

The judge issued an order banning publication of Mr Drew’s address or certain information about his family life.

But he also held that publishing the identity of Mr King’s partner was in the public interest and that the use of a private photograph of the pair should not be restricted, the BBC and Belfast Newsletter reported.

King had claimed misuse of private information and harassment, and an injunction to prevent publication of his address and other information about his family circumstances.

Sunday World Northern Editor Jim McDowell told the High Court in Belfast at a hearing on September 22 that King had forfeited his right to privacy when he became involved in O’Hagan’s murder.

King, formerly of Waringstown, categorically denies having had anything to do with the killing.

Mr Justice Weatherup detailed the Sunday World’s justification of a strong public interest in the investigation of alleged crime, but ruled that Drew’s current or future address could not be published as he had received death threats.

Drew’s partner could be identified, but the judge said there was misuse of private information on other “peripheral details” about her place of work and family.

There was no justification for the disclosure of other information by the newspaper, he added.

Overall, the newspaper’s series of article constituted “reasonable conduct” and did not amount to harassment.

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