A businessman has claimed earlier than a Excessive Court docket choose and jury that he was defamed in a newspaper article which he says falsely named him as a tax defaulter.
William Hen, 82, a director of William Hen Limerick Ltd and operator of the Stella Bingo Corridor in Shannon Road, Limerick, is suing Iconic Newspapers Ltd, publishers of the Limerick Chief, over an article within the paper on June 11, 2016, itemizing tax settlements from a listing printed by the Income Commissioners.
It said: “Funfair/amusement exercise operator William Hen, of Henry Road, reached three separate settlements for under-declaration of company tax and Vat, under-declaration of PAYE/PRSI and Vat, and under-declaration of company tax, in relation to a few corporations underneath his title. In complete, the monies paid to Income in his case amounted to €183,595.”
He says the article falsely meant, amongst different issues, he was a tax defaulter, had submitted false or fraudulent tax returns and he had submitted false or fraudulent tax returns and was of low ethical character.
He claims on account of the article, folks within the village of Castleconnell, Co Limerick, the place he lives, had prevented him and he had withdrawn from going out in his locality the best way he had beforehand.
His son Patrick, who runs the bingo corridor, instructed the court docket his father would arrive most nights to satisfy and greet the bingo clients. However on account of the publication and folks saying he was the particular person named within the paper, he stopped doing this.
Iconic denies defamation and says, amongst different issues, the article didn’t concern Mr Hen. There will even be a plea of certified privilege, the court docket heard.
Opening the case for Mr Hen, Jim O’Callaghan SC, with Declan Doyle SC, stated the Hen household was well-known because the operator of a travelling funfair and amusement enterprise and has run the Funderland truthful within the RDS through the years.
Mr Hen was certainly one of 4 brothers who labored with their father within the enterprise and the court docket would hear that in 1994 Mr Hen transferred most of his curiosity within the Hen corporations and was concerned in just one, William Hen Limerick Ltd, which operated the Stella Bingo Corridor.
The newspaper article said settlements had been with three William Hen corporations which he didn’t have something to do with, counsel stated.
The article was “fully false”, there was no discovering in opposition to Mr Hen, and he didn’t attain a tax settlement, he stated.
When Mr Hen’s solicitor wrote to the newspaper, it initially stated it couldn’t see the place the article was unfaithful, counsel stated.
After proceedings have been issued, counsel stated the paper “doubled down” on its refusal to just accept it was unsuitable however supplied to place in a correction and apology saying the settlement had nothing to do with Mr Hen personally and he had no affiliation with the businesses.
In his direct proof, Mr Hen stated his brother in France rang him to ask if he had seen the article. He went and obtained a replica of the paper and stated he felt “a bit shook” after he learn it.
“After a day or two I went all the way down to the village [Castleconnell] and will see they have been speaking about me and folks you knew have been wanting the opposite approach.
“Perhaps I used to be imagining it however I noticed it occur and after this I did not trouble going downtown”.
Below cross-examination by Brendan Kirwan SC, with Ronan Lupton SC, Mr Hen agreed the phrases within the article referred to a “funfair amusement exercise operator” and agreed he didn’t function a funfair however a bingo corridor He agreed his enterprise was not on Henry Road however on Shannon Road however disagreed it was not referring to him when it referred to the businesses.
The case continues earlier than Mr Justice Alexander Owens and a jury.