TableIt’s been a good week for freedom of speech. I wrote an article a few weeks ago about the restaurant Goodfellas taking the Irish News to court for defamation because of a bad review they printed. You can read my article on the matter here:

http://justjohnwright.com/2008/01/25/bad-laws-bad-restaurants-and-bad-coke/

Today the Court of Appeal quashed the original High Court decision in favour of the restaurant and has ordered a retrial. Lord Chief Justice Kerr said: “Although I consider it likely that a properly directed jury would conclude that a sufficient factual substratum existed for the comment… I cannot be certain that this is so and I would therefore order a retrial.”

In other words an intelligent jury with proper directions from the judge really should have found in favour of the Irish News but had been misdirected in the original trial and made a bad decision. But because it isn’t inevitable that such an jury with proper directions would find in favour of the Irish News the case should go to retrial. The ball is now in the restaurant’s court, and they must decide whether or not to pursue the matter. Hopefully these comments from the Lord Chief Justice will put them off and they’ll see sense.

Rather than a lengthy and expensive legal case they would surely be better off improving their inedible food, watery coke and poor service.

Stephen.

You can read the BBC report here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7286498.stm

For those of you really dedicated you can read the full judgment here:

http://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-GB/Judicial+Decisions/Judgments/j_j_ker7114final.htm