Solicitor takes legal action over comments on website

 

A SOLICITOR has brought a defamation action over comments posted about him on the website rateyoursolicitor.com

Damien Tansey, a partner in the firm Callan Tansey Solicitors, is suing John Gill, Drumline, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare, and Ans Vogelaar, Bohea, Liscarney, Westport, Co Mayo, in their alleged capacity as operators of the website.

He is also suing Dotster Inc, a US-based firm, over allegedly providing internet services to the other defendants, including hosting the website.

In an affidavit, Mr Tansey said the website, which is widely read among legal consumers, had published material false and defamatory of him since July 2007. Mr Tansey said the words published on the site wrongly meant he had committed criminal acts, engaged in dishonest appropriation of clients’ property, lied to clients, engaged in corrupt conduct, engaged in unprofessional conduct and failed to act in accordance with the highest standards.

As a result, his character, reputation and business had been “greatly injured”, resulting in him suffering embarrassment, loss and damage, he said.

When the matter came before the High Court yesterday, senior counsel Richard Humphreys, for Mr Tansey, said he understood Mr Gill would defend the proceedings.

Counsel was granted an extension of time by Mr Justice Michael Peart to bring his proceedings against the defendants over allegedly defamatory statements posted between January and July 2010. The matter was adjourned.

Counsel said the action would have been brought sooner but it had taken some time and the work of experts to establish the names and identities of the appropriate parties to sue. Considerable steps, including obtaining orders from the High Court, were being taken by the defendants to hide the identity of the people responsible for the website, he said. Now that proceedings had formally been issued, it was hoped that would bring “things to their senses”.

Mr Gill neither consented to nor opposed the application for an extension of time for the bringing of the proceedings. In response to Mr Justice Peart, he said that he had “very little” to say and the only thing he was interested in was “the truth”. Since he had returned from Canada, his livelihood had been “ruined” by “these people”.