Thursday 29 October 2009

Suzanne Breen could face £25,000 legal bill

Journalist Suzanne Breen could be hit with a legal bill of at least £25,000 following her successful fight against the Police Service of Northern Ireland's bid to force her to hand over source material relating to articles about the Real IRA , the Belfast Telegraph has reported.
At Belfast Recorder's Court this week, the PSNI opposed an application by Breen, northern editor of the Sunday Tribune, for the costs she incurred at the hearing last June when Judge Tom Burgess dismissed the Chief Constable's application for a Production Order.
Barrister Tony McGleenan said the proper order for Judge Burgess to make was no order as to costs between the parties, meaning each side would pay their own costs.
Judge Burgess, agreeing that costs was a purely discretionary matter for him, said he would look again at the entirety of the evidence before giving his decision.
The application by the PSNI was rejected in June because to pass an order would have threatened Suzanne Breen’s right to life. Serious concerns about the implication an order would have for press freedom were also recognised in the judgment.
NUJ Irish secretarey Séamus Dooley said: “It would be a travesty of justice if Suzanne Breen or her newspaper were expected to pick up the costs in relation to this case. The application for an order had to be resisted. These costs could be in the region of £25,000. It would be completely unfair to expect her to cover costs in a case that she had no choice but to take.”
Pic: Jon Slattery

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