Meegan V Irish Mail on Sunday
Michael Meegan, head of Third World Charity International Community Relief for Starvation and Suffering, sought an order preventing the Irish Mail on Sunday from publishing an article detailing allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by Mr Meegan. The allegations were made by six Kenyan males who worked with or were involved with Mr Meegan in the charity.
Mr Meegan argued that publication of such allegations would cause irreparable damage to his position and reputation as a charity worker, particularly given attitudes in Kenya to homosexuality. He also argued that the allegations did not take account of the fact that one man had withdrawn allegations against him.
The court refused to prevent publication of the article, stating that such action would only be appropriate if the newspaper had no evidence to back up its case. Kearns J stated that, in his view, the newspaper had shown reasonable grounds for the claim and might succeed at the hearing of any libel action. Further, there was no suggestion that the newspaper would be unable to pay any damages should a libel action succeed. Kearns J took into account an undertaking by the newspaper’s editor not to publish certain allegations and the judge refused to stay his decision pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. He also directed that Mr Meegan pay the newspaper’s legal costs of the High Court proceedings.