Two brothers defamed by the chairman of the Kilkenny Hunt who referred to them as a “pair of paedophiles” have been awar-ded damages of €30,500.
The defamation action was taken by Norman and Hubert Daniels of Rathielty, Rathmoyle, Co Kilkenny, against Edward Norris of Danesrath, Knocktopher.
Judge Thomas Teehan, in his judgment at Kilkenny Circuit Court, said yesterday he accepted evidence that Mr Norris used the words “pair of paedophiles” when looking towards the brothers during a hunt on Nov 12, 2004. When evidence in the case was heard in December, Mr Norris told the court he did say the brothers were “acting like a pair of paedophiles” when he met them during a meeting of the hunt outside their land but said he did not say they actually were paedophiles.
The trial heard evidence from Mr Norris that parents were complaining to him about their children being recorded while taking part in the hunt.
Judge Teehan said in his ruling: “It is not an exaggeration to say that paedophiles are the most despised group in our society. This was so in 2004 and it is so today.”
It was “gratifying,” the judge said, that it was accepted by both sides that there was “absolutely no truth” to those words that were spoken by Mr Norris at the hunt in 2004, and he was satisfied there “never was an attempt to photograph children specifically”.
The court heard the brothers had been filming the activities of the hunt whenever it passed near their land, on the advice of a solicitor, in case any damage was done to their property.
The judge struck out a counter-claim lodged by Mr Norris for harassment. He awarded compensatory damages to the Daniels brothers of €10,000 for defamation and exemplary damages of €20,000, because of the “conduct of the defendant in how this case was met”. There was also an award of €500 for assault.
Judge Teehan recommended an intermediary, possibly an IFA official respected by both sides, intervene to try and resolve the ongoing dispute between the hunt and the brothers.
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