Farmers allege defamation by Kilkenny Hunt chairman over 'paedophile' slur


A court case about a dispute between farmers and the Kilkenny Hunt was marked by claims and counterclaims of abusive language and evidence that it had been said that if the fox hunt could be banned, a better price might be paid for part of the local farmland.

Chairman of the hunt Edward Norris, of Danesrath, Knocktopher, Co Kilkenny, told the defamation case yesterday that he said brothers Norman Daniels and Hubert Daniels of Rathielty, Rathmoyle, Co Kilkenny, were “acting like paedophiles” when he met them outside their land in November of 2004 but didn’t say they were paedophiles.

The two Daniels brothers are suing Mr Norris for defamation, while Mr Norris has lodged a counterclaim for harassment.

Kilkenny Circuit Court heard that damage was caused to the Daniels’s land in 2000 by a hunt pack, not the Kilkenny Hunt, and since then the brothers had been video-taping any hunt activities near their land.

Hubert Daniels said that, on November 12th, 2004, he was “encircled” by the defendant when the hunt was in the area. “He shoved his face into my face and, at one point, his nose came in contact with my face”. He was “frightened” and subsequently heard Mr Norris saying that he and his brother were “a pair of paedophiles”.

Asked by his counsel, Shane English, how he felt about this, Mr Daniels replied: “I felt that hatred, wickedness and evil had come into my presence. I felt ... degraded, down to the level of a dirty paedophile.”

Mr Norris had “stated that myself and my brother are a pair of paedophiles, one of the most evil creatures on this earth, in my opinion”.

He did not record children who were part of the hunt, but a “collective group” of huntspeople, he said. And no local people had ever complained to him about the video-recording.

Norman Daniels said there was a legal agreement drawn up with the late Maj Victor McCalmont in 1978 that in the event of the Kilkenny Hunt ever being disbanded, the Danielses could buy a piece of land known as the Foxcover for £1,100.

Johnny Walsh, for Mr Norris, put it to Mr Daniels that this was what the court case was about. “If you can get the hunt disbanded, the Foxcover will come your way for a price agreed in 1978,” he suggested.

Mr Daniels replied “no”.

Mr Norris said, in evidence, that the Kilkenny Hunt was the oldest of its kind in the country, dating back to 1797.

From 2000, he said, the Danielses had never failed to turn up at the hunt to record it anytime it passed by their lands. Parents were complaining to him about their children being recorded, he said.

On November 12th, 2004, he told the plaintiffs they were “acting like a pair of paedophiles”, and to “go away and leave the kids and the hunt alone”.

He told the court he didn’t say they were paedophiles. And he didn’t believe either of them was a paedophile, nor did any member of the hunt or the local community. The case has been adjourned until February 4th.