Clegg solicitors begin libel action


FIVE partners in a Belfast firm of solicitors which defended Paratrooper Lee Clegg brought a libel action against the Daily Telegraph in the High Court Belfast yesterday.

The solicitors in the firm of, McCartan Turkington and Breen sued the paper over its, coverage of their handling of Clegg's defence when he was found guilty of murdering Ms Karen Reilly.

The partners are Mr Bernard Turkington, Mr Damien Breen, Mr Ernest Telford, Mr Gerald McVeigh and Mr Michael" Bennett.

In his opening address to the jury, Mr Michael Lavery QC for the solicitors, said the Daily Telegraph had admitted the article, published on January 24th, 1995, was defamatory but had pleaded the defence of qualified privilege in that the words complained of constituted a fair and accurate report of a public meeting.

But Mr Lavery argued that the page one article was not a report of a meeting but appeared to be a collection of quotes from Clegg, who was then in Wakefield Jail, his new legal adviser and former paratroop officer Lord St Oswald.

Copies of the report were handed to the jury and Mr Lavery highlighted what he called these allegations of short comings on the part of the lawyers who defended Clegg.

He told the jury "Clegg was properly defended and the defendants now admit that.

The hearing continues today.