Former mining company executive Donal Kinsella will have to repay €250,000 of a €500,000 payment he received so that a record €10m libel award to him against the company could be appealed, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Last month, that €10m award to the former Kenmare Resources deputy chairman was cut to €250,000 by the Court of Appeal.
The case was back before the Appeal Court today to deal with costs and the question of the €500,000 payment imposed on Kenmare in order that it could bring the appeal more than eight years ago.
Paul Gallagher SC, for Kenmare, argued Mr Kinsella should be required to pay the €250,000 in excess of the €250,000 the Court of Appeal awarded him.
It would be "entirely unjust" if Mr Kinsella was allowed to keep another €250,000, he said.
Eoin McCullough SC, for Mr Kinsella, said there should be no order in relation to the €500,000 payment which was made more than eight years ago.
There would be no particular injustice in making no order in the circumstances of the time and of a previous similar case, he said.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine, on behalf of the three-judge Court of Appeal said the court was satisfied there would be a grave injustice to Kenmare and she directed the repayment of the €250,000.
Mr Kinsella had the benefit of the entire €500,000 for more than eight years, she said.
The Court of Appeal said there would be a stay on the repayment order to allow Mr Kinsella consider whether he wants to seek an appeal against the repayment decision to the Supreme Court.
The Appeal Court also awarded the costs of the appeal to Kenmare and its chairman, Charles Carvill, who was also sued, but limited it to one day's hearing costs.
Mr Kinsella was entitled to his costs in relation to his successful cross-appeal over the High Court finding that the press release was published on an occasion of qualified privilege.
The €10m award - made up of €9m for general damage and €1m for aggravated damages - was made in 2010 after a jury found Mr Kinsella was defamed in a company press release issued on July 10, 2007.
The press release concerned an incident in Mozambique in May 2007, where a company board meeting was being held, when Mr Kinsella sleep-walked naked to the bedroom door of company secretary Deirdre Corcoran.
The press release referred to an “incident” and said Mr Kinsella was being asked to resign from the company’s audit committee.
An investigation by an independent solicitor on behalf of the company had found there was no conscious attempt on Mr Kinsella’s part to enter Ms Corcoran’s room and no improper motive in opening her door.
Mr Kinsella was prone to sleep-walking.
Mr Kinsella sued the company and its chairman, Mr Carvill.