the Monica Leech award - damages or punisment ?

constitutionus

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was just listening to drivetime today and once again the journos where crying about the 1.87 million awarded to Ms Leech for being defamed in the public domain and basically being called a whore and i couldnt help thinking ARE these actually damages or is it a punishment of INM by the jury?

the reason i ask is IMO it IS a punishment of the herald and its owners yet no one on the radio seems to cotton on to this.

on the said program the guest were throwing up what is now the standard strawman that if she was paralysed in an accident she wouldntve got a TENTH of this , and indeed if she hadve gone in front of the redress board for the religious abuse scandal she only wouldve got 60k or so.

now this is true, and makes for good evasion. unfortunetly with them being all journos together in the irish media NO ONE seems to ask what the consequences of that line of thinking is and indeed if theyre even comparable .

the obvious reason to me for such a large award, and a court has ruled today that INM DO have to start paying it out while theyre appeal makes its way to the supreme court, is to take into account how this has benified INM.

look at it this way. lets say the maximum award ANYONE could get is circa 60k, what sort of messgage does that send to irresponsible or indeed malicous editors or "journalists" ?

many of the big newspapers in this country would pay a full time staff writer DOUBLE that a year in their wage!

you dont need to be a genius to realise that a complete bastard of an editor/writer could triple their circulation and prehaps double their charge rate on advertising to business on the back of their increased numbers ALL for the cost of half the yearly wage of a hack.

thats a HELL of an incentive to taget people and destroy them and we ALL know INM have no problem making up shyte when it suits them, liam lawlor and the "prostitute" in the car when he died is a classic example of this.

this is why this case ISNT comparable to the redress board or an accident. theres no money to be made from one party in CONTINUALLY crippling or abusing someone but there IS a material gain from printing stories like this

which is why i think this award ISNT about the loss of face to Ms Leech. The loss of her business or the defaming of her name. its about putting manners on irresponsible , indefensible "journalism" who's sole purpose was to sell newspaper and rake in the cash.

in short putting the smackdown on LIARS who abuse the position and power they hold in society and dragging the whole profesion into dissrepute.

a professinal trust worthy media is QUINTESESSNTIAL to a functional free society. the drive time guest where crying that awards of this level could result in INM getting into difficulties and that people could lose their jobs.

maybe at the end of the day- that was the point the jury was trying to make

that if a media outlet deliberatly prints or broadcasts content that they KNOW is bollocks, they'll bury them.

i'll put my hand up and say that if my take on this is true then i think its a marvelous turn of events. the drivetime pannel were waffling on about the new defamation bill and the like but TBH if push comes to shove id rather a jury of my peers decided whether i was deliberatly defamed or not and punished the media involved than have regulation forced on the industry or have the government interfer.

its seems to be the most equitable way of punishing the hacks without threatening the abilities of the corp of genuine investigative jounalists.


or maybe im reading too much into this :) ! what do you lot think?
 


mccafferty cat

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€1.87 million is a ridiculous, hideous award. It makes a complete farce of our so-called defamation laws.

Meanwhile, on the same day, poor old Paschal Taggart got a mere €50k payout from the Irish Examiner!
 

orbit

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I thought it was right her case failed against RTE. I'm not familiar with what was published by the Herald in this case, but if a jury thought she was defamed, then I'm happy to accept that.

On the award, it doesn't sound unreasonable to me. She has been widely pilloried in the media (and I'm not a fan personally). It probably is the case, that her business has been destroyed. So, she deserves decent compensation for that.

Make no mistake. The media (the whole media) will spin this issue to suit their own agenda, which is to get the right to tell lies about people, and not have to take responsibility for those lies.
 

JCSkinner

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Leech's career soared following her stint with Cullen. She was appointed to the HEA and was CEO of Waterford Chamber of Commerce until more recently she began earning much of her money as a serial libel litigant.
What happened to the previous thread, btw?
 

Libero

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George Carman QC, the legendary English boozer-barrister (a sort of legal George Best) used to act for the plaintiff in lots of famous libel cases.

When it came to asking the jury to calculate damages, he invited them to imagine the board of the newspaper on the day they consider the libel award against them. First, they'd be a little glum at the thought of writing the cheque but then their expression would change as they thought of the extra sales that would more than compensate for a modest award.

The jury's job, he told them, was to put the smile on the other side of the board's face.

Personally, I think it's a dangerous incentive to award to litigants not only what the jury thinks they are owed, but also the unspoken element of "punishment" against the publisher. It leaves the litigant over-compensated, even if the wrong-doer is properly punished. At a minimum, awards should be set by a judge and divided into ordinary damages paid to the victim of the libel, and a punitive amount to reflect the financial strength of the wrongdoer (otherwise they'll shrug it off, although Independent News could plead poverty these days).

As it is, our libel laws are a leftover of Victorian gentility: an hysterical focus on defending one's honour but only if one is of the class who can afford to take a High Court defamation case. There's no free legal aid for defamation even though one's right to a good name is protected by the constitution! Above all, it's a leftover left in place because it suits those with power and money, with things to hide and with a desire to see the media kept in their box. It's all pretty repugnant in a supposed republic with equal rights before the law.
 

constitutionus

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RE. dots question

they did-and lost it.

they have to start paying her now.

the other thread got locked for some reason . probably due to the fact its still heading towards the supreme court.

thats why i wanted THIS thread to be about the motivations of the jury and prehaps expand to whether we can expect more judgements like this in future if it really IS about trying to hurt the outlet conserned financially comensuretly with the gains they made from the story.
 

Baron von Biffo

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Leech's career soared following her stint with Cullen. She was appointed to the HEA and was CEO of Waterford Chamber of Commerce until more recently she began earning much of her money as a serial libel litigant.
What happened to the previous thread, btw?
To be fair she's not a serial litigant. Having been defamed by multiple media outlets she could hardly pursue just one.

The OP makes a good point that the jury may have included an element of punishment in the damages.
 

Christine Murray

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The Defamation Bill incl. blasphemic amendment is expected to be passed by 10/07/09 btw. That will be pertinent to future issues, l think the award exorbitant but understand her motivation in lodging the case.
 

davehiggz

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It's clear that what she got is too much and she only deserves less than 100k because it's comparable to those who lost limbs or got raped which to is way worse to losing precious wealth. However I also agree that the newspapers must pay large sums in order to make them think again before making allegations about people. I think the award should stay the same but that 10% or so goes back to the taxpayer, it makes perfect sense as everyone wins (except INM :D)
 

macdarawhitfield

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Libel is a law that protects only the rich and powerful.They can say what they like about you and me - well me anyhow.I certainly can't afford the protection of the law.
On the other hand why smear the woman? Her career itself sums up everything that is wrong with our system.Unelected,unaccountable and rather bad value for money.But the rags would rather run their yawnathon about her private life.Piss poor media.....
 

politicaldonations

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I dont know how being accused of having an affair can damage ones reputation that much especially when a publication retracts the statment. The indo will be trying to dig up dirt on her from now on.
A better way of compensating "victim" while punishing publication would be to award say 100k to "victim" and fine media a million which would be put into a general charity fund.
 


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