Garda claims post on YouTube over arrest is false and defamatory

Court told garda wrongly accused in commentary on video of kicking minor in head

The High Court has heard that statements made in a Youtube video are unfounded and without substance.

The High Court has heard that statements made in a Youtube video are unfounded and without substance.

 

A garda has brought a High Court action over a YouTube video with a commentary which he claims is false, malicious and defamatory of him.

The garda, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, says he features in a YouTube video more than three minutes long taken of a public order incident in 2016 when he and other members effected an arrest.

He says he is wrongly accused in the commentary on the video of kicking a minor in the head and that the audio on the clip does not reflect the images displayed in the video.

He says the commentary wrongly accuses him of having “assaulted that young fella”, “kicking the head off him” and “boot’n him”.

Those statements are unfounded and without substance and the video has impacted on him as an individual and a member of An Garda Síochána, the garda says.

Represented by Kenneth Fogarty SC and John Morrissey BL, instructed by solicitor Damien Sheridan, the garda says he was informed of the video by several of his colleagues after it was posted.

It received almost 40,000 views and the website had dozens of comments, he said. While his solicitor tried to make contact with the person who posted the video clip on YouTube with a view to having it taken down, Mr Sheridan was unable to determine the identity of the poster or their address.

Owned by Google

Mr Sheridan then wrote to YouTube, which is owned by Google, demanding the video be taken down. Because the video remained on the website, High Court proceedings were initiated against the internet firms.

In his proceedings, the Dublin-based garda seeks various orders, including an injunction restraining YouTube LLC and Google Ireland Ltd refusing to remove the video from YouTube with immediate effect.

He also seeks orders directing the defendants to deliver the identity of the person who posted the video and all other relevant contact information and details within their power and control. An injunction prohibiting the defendants allowing further postings of the allegedly defamatory video on YouTube or other websites within their control is also sought.

The garda previously obtained temporary High Court orders directing the video be taken down but those were replaced by an undertaking in the same terms by the defendants. His lawyers claim it is still technically possible to view the video.

At the High Court on Thursday, a number of pre-trial motions were listed before Mr Justice Tony O’Connor. The motions relate to whether the Irish courts have jurisdiction to make the orders sought by the garda and whether the defendants were properly served with the injunction proceedings. The judge has adjourned the motions to January to allow the sides prepare further legal submissions.