Denis O'Brien claims news article was 'nasty and spiteful' in High Court action

An allegedly defamatory article in the Irish Daily Mail has been described by businessman Denis O'Brien's lawyers as a "spiteful piece of nonsense".

The Digicel Chairman is suing for damages over the piece which ran in January 2010 under the headline: 'Moriarty's about to report. No wonder Denis O'Brien's acting the saint in stricken Haiti'.

The High Court heard Denis O'Brien claims his reputation was unfairly and unjustifiably attacked in the article, which was published three years ago.

The piece by Paul Drury appeared 10 days after Haiti was struck by an earthquake and 14 months before the publication of Mr Justice Moriarty's findings on the awarding of the second mobile phone license.

It said the businessman's appearance on a RTE news report by Charlie Bird in Port au Prince would "help take a lot of the sting out of the tribunal report".

The jury heard the 54-year-old alleges the meaning of the newspaper piece was that his involvement in the Haitian relief effort was an act of hypocrisy motivated by his own self interest.

His lawyers described the article as "nasty, spiteful and defamatory". Mr O'Brien has begun giving evidence.

The publishers of the Daily Mail deny defamation.

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