Former Army ranger sues 'Sunday World'
Seamus Griffin claims newspaper defamed him by suggesting he was involved in illegal purchase of arms and that he trained Seychelles police to become assassins
Seamus Griffin leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the opening day of his High Court action for damages. Photograph: Collins Courts
A former member of the elite Army Ranger Wing is suing over a newspaper article which he claims falsely suggested he was involved in illegal arms running, weapons training and moonlighting in the Seychelles.
Seamus Griffin (51), Laraghcon, Lucan, Co Dublin, claims the Sunday World defamed him in an article published on June 27th, 2010. His High Court action against the publishers, Sunday Newspapers Ltd, began yesterday before a judge and jury.
The court heard the case centred on a two-page article headed “Spooks in Paradise” and “Exclusive: Members of elite unit moonlighting in war on Somali gangs”. A subheading stated: “Irish Army rangers at the centre of a row over training of Seychelles police unit known as ‘The Assassins’.”
Mr Griffin claims the article was untrue because it wrongly claimed there were substantial grounds for believing he was involved in the illegal purchase of black market arms from South Africa in the Seychelles and that he improperly took leave of absence from the Army to give weapons training.
He also claims it wrongly suggested he was training members of an armed police squad in the Seychelles to act as assassins and was working in a lucrative secondary job, which conflicted with his job as an Army ranger, when he had retired five years earlier. It also wrongly claimed he was the subject of a major military investigation, he says.
The Sunday World denies his claims. It also pleads qualified privilege on a matter of public interest along with fair and reasonable publication on a matter of public interest.
The hearing continues.