Belfast Telegraph

Child killer's libel case settled

Child killer Wayne O'Donoghue was prepared to give evidence in a libel case settled in the High Court, it has been claimed.

Solicitor Frank Buttimer said the student was pleased a television station had retracted a statement which wrongly claimed O'Donoghue's semen had been found on the body of schoolboy Robert Holohan.

Robert was 11 when he was killed by his neighbour on January 4 2005. His body was found dumped near Inch Strand, Co Cork. O'Donoghue, a 21-year-old student from Ballyedmond in Midleton, was jailed for four years for his manslaughter in January 2006.

"Wayne O'Donoghue is pleased and happy that TV3 has withdrawn an inaccurate statement of fact from the record without the need to give evidence," said Mr Buttimer.

A victim impact statement by Robert's grief-stricken mother Majella at O'Donoghue's sentencing claimed semen had been found on her son's remains. Six months later, barristers told the Court of Criminal Appeal that DNA testing had shown the semen was not O'Donoghue's.

Mr Buttimer said his client's action against TV3 was not about securing damages or an apology, but to correct the record.

He maintained that an inaccuracy was aired twice on a news programme on January 24 2006, despite a call to correct before the second broadcast. Mr Buttimer said O'Donoghue had no option but to take the libel action - which was settled out of court in recent days.

The student had flown home from college in England to give evidence during the hearing.

In a statement, TV3 said it was pleased to confirm that the case arising out of a news item broadcast four and a half years ago had been settled on agreed terms which involved no apology, no damages and no order as to costs. The following agreed statement was read out in court: "TV3 acknowledges that there is no evidence that the semen found on Robert Holohan's body was that of Wayne O'Donoghue."

Similar cases are outstanding against four Irish newspapers.

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