O'Brien: Newspaper article reached 'crescendo of nastiness'

Denis O'Brien

Lawyers for the Irish Daily Mail are questioning businessman Denis O'Brien as to whether he believes the newspaper "deliberately tried to get him".

The Digicel chairman is suing the newspaper for damages, claiming he was defamed by an article about his involvement in the Haitian relief effort, published on January 22, 2010.

Mr O'Brien has described the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake as a cross between 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Battle of Britain'.

Digicel is Haiti's biggest employer, and as chairman he gave two media interviews about the crisis.

The 54-year-old businessman said he was very upset by the Daily Mail article with the headline 'Moriarty's about to report. No wonder Denis O'Brien's acting the saint in stricken Haiti'.

He has called it "spiteful", "kind of grubby" and later, under cross-examination, he called it "malicious".

He said the article reached a "crescendo of nastiness" by wrongly implying that he had been following RTÉ's Charlie Bird around Port-au-Prince like a lapdog for PR reasons.

The jury has heard journalist Paul Drury maintains this was not a news story but an opinion piece containing his honestly held views.

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