herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

Innocent student's attempt to stop Facebook defaming him could cost huge sum

A COLLEGE student's attempt to stop internet giants defaming him may land him with a legal bill the size of a small mortgage.

DCU student Eoin McKeogh (22) is bracing himself to be hit with huge legal costs after a landmark court battle to prevent Facebook and other internet giants from showing the defamatory video footage.

The material - which was removed from the web after Mr McKeogh obtained a temporary injunction - wrongly identifies him as dodging a taxi fare.

The business and Japanese student has proven that he is innocent of the claims after producing evidence that showed he was in Japan on the date in question.

Mr Justice Michael Peart said it was "a profound regret to me" that "this entirely innocent man found himself in a predicament where his good name had been sullied in the manner which it was".

The Court heard Mr McKeogh was subjected to the "most appalling" abuse after an anonymous author on internet service providers had wrongly assumed him as being the person who did not pay the taxi fare.

Offend

Some of the language used about the Kildare student "would offend even the liberal and broad minded," the Judge added. The Judge also noted that the taxi driver himself came to court and said that Mr McKeogh was not the person who avoided paying the fare.

The High Court yesterday rejected an application by Mr McKeogh to ban six newspapers from identifying him.

But after losing his court battle yesterday Mr McKeogh is facing into an enormous legal bill.

The issue of costs was adjourned to a date next month, however it was indicated to the court that all sides intended to apply for their costs in the action.

Mr Justice Peart yesterday dismissed claims that the newspapers breached the terms of injunctions obtained by the student arising out of postings accompanying the internet video clip, which he says defamed him.

The Judge said the terms of the injunction he had previously granted to Mr McKeogh were not directed at the newspapers, and their reporting of the case had not breached orders he made on January 11 last.

He was completely satisfied that newspapers "were and are entitled to name Mr McKeogh in their reporting of the proceedings".

The newspapers involved were the Herald, the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, The Irish Times and Irish Daily Star Newspapers.

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