Monica Leech, a PR consultant to a government minister, has unexpectedly lost her libel case against the Irish Independent. The Indo had published a story about what had happened the previous day on RTE radio: a caller introducing himself as “Norman” had stated that Leech was winning public contracts in exchange for performing sexual favours for the minister (Martin Cullen). An interesting aspect of the case comes out briefly in Miriam Lord’s article on it in Friday’s Irish Times. The judge referred to the caller as a “nutcase” in the presence of the jury. The prosecution thought that this might “take from the case’s serious nature,” as Lord puts it, so the jury was recalled and “Norman” was reclassified as “malevolent.”
The more credible the accuser the…
Leech’s lawyers argued, then, that the word of a random, anonymous, prank caller – malevolent, but not a nut – carried enough weight to “destroy” (her counsel’s words) her reputation.