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Dana 'killing defamation case through legal costs'

Published 13/10/2016

Seeking security: Dana Scallan
Seeking security: Dana Scallan

A sister and niece of former Irish presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallan will be unable to proceed with defamation actions against her if the court requires them to provide security for her legal costs, Dublin's High Court has been told.

If the court grants the Londonderry-born singer orders requiring Susan Stein and Susan Gorrell to provide the €425,000 (£383,695) security she is seeking, their cases will be at an end, their counsel Jim O'Callaghan said. "The objective here is to try to kill the proceedings" he said.

Counsel said security for costs should be refused on grounds including Dana has no strong defence to defamation, the cases are in the public interest and his clients had put "after the event" insurance cover in place which would meet Dana's costs and expenditure, estimated by the plaintiffs at €165,000 (£148,964).

In their civil actions, Ms Stein and her daughter Ms Gorrell, both living in Iowa, US, allege the former Eurovision winner defamed them in a TV3 interview broadcast on October 14, 2011, during the presidential campaign.

Both women claim Dana made statements which meant they maliciously made up claims Ms Gorrell was sexually abused between 1971-81 by her uncle, John Brown, a brother of Dana.

The court has heard Mr Brown, of Berkshire, England, was cleared in 2014 of all charges of indecent assault made by Ms Gorrell.

Mr Justice Rober Eager heard further arguments yesterday on Dana's application for security for costs.

In deciding whether to grant it, counsel said his clients also sued TV3 over the broadcast and that case had settled on terms including an apology.

The court has heard Dana denies defamation on grounds including she did not name the plaintiffs and what she said in the interview did not mean what the plaintiffs allege.

Her counsel, Oisin Quinn, said those pleas, along with other pleas of truth, justification and honest opinion amount to a bona fide defence.

The hearing continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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