herald

Tuesday 15 October 2019

'My brain slipped' - reporter who named Ana's killer on live radio fined €2,500

Schoolgirl Ana Kriegel
Schoolgirl Ana Kriegel

A reporter who named one of the boys convicted of the murder of Ana Kriegel on a live radio show said "my brain just slipped".

Irish Daily Mirror journalist Niall O'Connor was fined €2,500 after he admitted "inadvertently" naming one of Ana's killers.

The broadcaster of the Neil Prendeville Show on Cork's RedFM, where Mr O'Connor named Boy A, was also fined €10,000.

Yesterday, Mr O'Connor apologised for what he described as a "complete mistake".

Sorry

Mr O'Connor, a former garda, said he was "truly sorry" and he in no way intended to say the boy's name.

His solicitor Simon McAleese told the court Mr O'Connor said "my brain just slipped" when he described what had happened.

Diarmuid O'Leary, chief executive of RedFM, also apologised to the court, as well as to Boy A and his family.

He said a "dump button" facility, or seven-second delay, had been introduced on the show since this had happened.

The teens cannot be identified under the Children Act and due to orders made by Mr Justice Paul McDermott during the trial.

They have been referred to in the media as Boy A and Boy B.

Judge McDermott said he was satisfied what happened was an error, and not an intentional breach of the court's orders and the law.

However, he said it was a "serious error, involving a lapse of professional standards".

Earlier, Brendan Grehan SC, for the DPP, told the court that Mr O'Connor named one of the boys twice during an interview on the Neil Prendeville Show on RedFM on the morning of June 19, the day after the jury's verdicts.

Mr Grehan said that it was clear from listening to the broadcast that steps had been taken not to identify the boys, who were referred to as Boy A and Boy B.

Mr Grehan said Mr O'Connor had contacted the DPP's office, and had apologised for what he described as "a terrible error on my part".

Judge McDermott said he accepted what happened was an error. There had also been an apology to Boy A's family, though they might consider this a "cold comfort", he said.

He said a donation to charity was "wholly inappropriate" and fined Mr O'Connor €2,500 and RedFM €10,000.

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