Ben Gilroy fails in bid for injunction in defamation case

Anti-eviction activist claims YouTube video links him to use of subtance to cure autism

Ben Gilroy. Photograph: Collins Courts

Ben Gilroy. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

Anti-eviction activist Ben Gilroy is not entitled to an injunction requiring a woman to remove a video posted on social media pending the outcome of his defamation action.

Mr Gilroy, of Riverview, Athlumney Abbey, Navan, Co Meath, and another man claim they were defamed in a video posted by Fiona O’Leary, a campaigner for the rights of children with autism.

Ms O’Leary also campaigns against the use of a particular substance, MMS, as a cure for autism.

In a judgment on Friday, Mr Justice Senan Allen said Mr Gilroy, who remains jailed in Mountjoy Prison for contempt, had failed to meet the legal threshold for the injunction sought by him.

Mr Gilroy and a businessman, Vincent Byrne, Ardgillan Close, Ardgillan Heights, Balrothery, Co Dublin have sued Ms O’Leary over allegedly defaming them in a 13 minute YouTube video which she posted under the title The Sovereign Movement and its links to MMS bleach on June 23rd last.

Ms O’Leary, represented by barrister Patricia Sheehy Skeffington BL, instructed by solicitor Rossa McMahon, denies the post contains any defamatory remarks about the two men.

In a pre-trial motion, Mr Gilroy sought an injunction under section 33 of the Defamation Act requiring Ms O’Leary to take down the alleged defamatory video until the case is determined. He claims the video wrongly links him to the use and promotion of MMS.

The application was opposed by Ms O’Leary who denies the video is defamatory. Her lawyers told the court she accepted that Mr Gilroy is not involved with MMS.

Mr Justice Allen said it seemed to him he issue of what the video might convey was a matter for a jury to decide. In his view, a jury might “very well take the view” the case is “greatly over-pleaded.”

While accepting there was at the very least an issue to be tried as to whether the video conveys the alleged meanings, he said, if the case goes to trial, there might well be an issue as to whether all or any of the alleged meanings should go to the jury.

For present purposes, it was sufficient to say he “could not conceive” the Court of Appeal would interfere with a verdict of a jury that the video was not defamatory of Mr Gilroy, he said.

The case has been adjourned to April.