TV3 told to pay half of damages award to Dublin lawyer

Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley
Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley

TV3 has been told it must pay half of a €140,000 damages award to a Dublin lawyer pending the outcome of an appeal.

Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley agreed to put a stay on the order to pay €140,000 to David Christie in order to allow an appeal, on the condition that half of the damages award and half of Mr Christie’s legal costs are paid within the next three weeks.

The funds will be returned to TV3 if its appeal is successful.

Mr Christie sued TV3 after he was pictured in a news report about his client Thomas Byrne, a solicitor who was then accused of 50 counts of theft and forgery involving €52 million and later convicted.

Footage of Mr Christie walking alone to the Criminal Courts of Justice was broadcast alongside a narration detailing Mr Byrne’s charges.

Ms Justice O’Malley, sitting in the High Court in Dublin earlier this month, said the juxtaposition, which TV3 defended as an “innocent mistake” and an “editing error”, was unfortunate.

The matter was dealt with under the Defamation Act 2009 and Ms Justice O’Malley determined that Mr Christie was owed €140,000 in damages.

TV3’s contrition was taken into account as mitigation, bringing the award down from €200,000.

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