O'Brien 'entitled to same justice as any citizen', defamation trial told14/02/2013 - 17:38:38
A verdict is expected this evening in Denis O'Brien's defamation action against the Irish Daily Mail and columnist Paul Drury.
The Digicel Chairman is suing for damages over an article that appeared in January 2010 under the headline 'Moriarty's about to Report. No wonder Denis O'Brien is acting the saint in stricken Haiti'.
Denis O'Brien claims the Irish Daily Mail article falsely portrayed his involvement in the Haitian relief effort as a hypocritical act primarily motivated by self-interest.
In a final address to the jury, his barrister Paul O'Higgins said the piece is in places "dripping irony" and was meant to blacken the businessman' name.
He added: "We're all meant to hate wealthy people, but he's entitled to the same justice as any other citizen."
He said if the facts in the article are not true then the newspaper's defence that this was an honest opinion piece on a matter of public interest must fail.
Lawyers for the Mail and journalist Paul Drury say this is a case about the right to free expression.
It is now for the jury to decide whether Denis O'Brien was defamed. If they decide in his favour, they will assess damages.
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