Former footballer must get €50,000 over defamation article

‘Sunday World’ ordered to pay Brian Nolan sum to facilitate appeal of €310,000 award

Brian Nolan, who was awarded €310,000 over a defamatory newspaper article describing him as the “king of the swingers”, must be paid €50,000 within 36 days as a condition of the paper being allowed to appeal the award, the High Court has ruled.

Brian Nolan, who was awarded €310,000 over a defamatory newspaper article describing him as the “king of the swingers”, must be paid €50,000 within 36 days as a condition of the paper being allowed to appeal the award, the High Court has ruled.

 

A former Kildare county footballer awarded €310,000 over a newspaper article describing him as the “king of the swingers” must be paid €50,000 within 36 days as a condition of the paper being allowed to appeal the award, the High Court has ruled.

The Sunday World must also pay Brian Nolan another €50,000 on the anniversary of that payment as another condition of the paper being allowed bring its appeal, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor said.

He also directed Mr Nolan be paid most of the costs of the four-day hearing of the case. Last week, the judge found Mr Nolan had been grossly defamed in two articles published in 2012 and 2013. He rejected a separate claim of breach of privacy.

He rejected the paper’s arguments the articles were not defamatory and were in the public interest.

A native of Newbridge, now living in Goatstown in Dublin, Mr Nolan (49), who played senior football for Kildare in the 1990s, sued over a July 15th, 2012, article which described him as “the king of the swingers” and featured photos of him alongside women in lingerie whose faces were pixelated.

He also sued over a second article on the sex trade in Ireland published on March 3rd, 2013, under the headline “Ireland exposed” and also including photos of, and references to, him.

The case returned before Mr Justice O’Connor on Thursday to deal with costs and the issue of a stay pending appeal.

Privacy breach

Rossa Fanning SC, for the Sunday World, argued Mr Nolan should only be awarded two of the four days of the case because he had not succeeded in a separate claim for breach of privacy.

Paul O’Higgins SC, for Mr Nolan, said his client should get all the costs.

Mr Justice O’Connor ordered the paper to pay all the costs save for half of one day’s costs bearing in mind that privacy did become an issue.

In relation to the stay on the award pending appeal, Mr Justice O’Connor said Mr Fanning had put forward 13 grounds of appeal.

It had been argued by Mr Fanning the Sunday World, as part of the Independent News and Media Group, was a “mark” for damages, he said. However, Mr Nolan’s side argued he had lived with this matter for five years.

In the circumstances, the judge said he would order €50,000 be paid to Mr Nolan within 36 days during which time the paper had said it would lodge its appeal. Another €50,000 would paid on the anniversary of that payment, he said.