Barrister Hugh Mohan told Judge Joseph Mathews yesterday the newspaper had driven a coach-and-four through his judgment in which he found Star Sunday had defamed Watters, of Hazelwood Avenue, Dundalk, Co Louth, and directed it publish an apology.
Mr Mohan said that in his judgment in the Circuit Civil Court last week, Judge Mathews ordered there was to be no repetition of the original libel.
He said the libel had been repeated and he would be arguing this later when seeking a court order attaching and committing Mr Colleran and directing sequestration of Independent Star Limited’s assets.
Eoin McCullough, counsel for the newspaper, said he disagreed with the contention that an article about the judgment in last Sunday’s edition of the newspaper amounted to a contempt of court.
Mr Mohan said the repeat of the libel and gravity of the contempt had been emphasised with a picture of Watters in last Sunday’s newspaper. He said a headline had stated: “We may have to apologise to this revolting pervert… Will we mean it? Hell No.”
Watters’ situation had, in contravention of the court’s specific order, been totally negated and worsened dramatically and could not be allowed to stand.
Judge Mathews, in last week’s judgment, held that Watters, aged 34, after openly admitting his guilt and seeking psychiatric help for his chronic addiction to child pornography, had retained a “residual character” which could and had been defamed by the newspaper.
While he had suffered a substantial loss of reputation through his guilt, conviction and imprisonment on pornographic charges, he could not reasonably be said to be in the same category as a convicted prisoner in continuous denial with no remorse, contrition, acceptance of wrongdoing or wish to rehabilitate and not re-offend.
Star Sunday was directed to publish an apology for having stated that Watters had formed “a seedy and weird relationship” with convicted rapist Larry Murphy, in Arbour Hill prison, and for having referred to Watters as “a twisted pervert.”
Mr Mohan said yesterday’s court hearing was to have been about an agreed apology to Watters under the 2009 Defamation Act or part publication by Star Sunday of the judgment but last Sunday’s developments had overtaken that course.
He was granted leave to apply for a declaration that the newspaper was in contempt of the judgment and directions of the court and seek the attachment and committal to prison of Mr Colleran as well as the seizure of assets.