Jury in Coffey’s ‘Crotty’ libel case fails to reach verdict
THE jury in Fine Gael Senator Paudie Coffey’s libel case over being likened to a highway robber has been sent home for the weekend after failing to reach a unanimous verdict.
After four hours of deliberations last night, the jury said they had failed to reach a verdict on the question of whether Mr Coffey was libelled by a January 2016 newspaper article.
The newspaper piece likened him to a notorious 18th-century highwayman who lived in a cave in Waterford’s Comeragh Mountains.
Mr Coffey is seeking ‘significant compensation’ from the Kilkenny People – but the jury must first decide if he was defamed. The jury of eight men and four women began deliberations at 2.45pm yesterday, on the twelfth day of the trial.
They will return to court on Tuesday morning next to resume deliberations, when they will attempt to reach a majority verdict.
The Kilkenny People says its article – which was based largely on a press release issued by Fine Gael Junior Minister John Paul Phelan relating to a review of county boundaries – was ‘parody pure and simple’.
But Mr Coffey’s lawyers say it ‘seriously damaged his reputation’ and has caused him to suffer ever since. He claims the article turned his name to ‘garbage’ and caused him to lose his seat at the last general election.