12 February 2007
Bad review costs newspaper £25,000
An Irish newspaper has been ordered to pay £25,000 plus costs by a court judge after a restaurant review by one of its food critics was found to be defamatory.
Food critic Caroline Workman criticised the quality of the food, drink and service at the Goodfellas Restaurant & Pizzeria in Belfast in her review in the Irish Times.
The negative comments prompted restaurant owner Ciarnan Convery to take legal action against the paper, arguing that the review was defamatory, damaging and hurtful.
The jury at the High Court in Belfast appeared to agree, returning a unanimous defamation verdict.
Mr Convery, who opened the restaurant in 1991, welcomed the ruling.
"I think justice has been done," he said.
"Goodfellas is a successful business and today's verdict has proved to me, my staff and my customers that we did the right thing by launching the libel action."
However, a spokesman for the Irish Times said that it had instructed lawyers for the paper to launch an immediate appeal, arguing that the verdict of the court could harm the press's right to free speech.