26 February 2007
Libelled pensioner wins £33,000 from newspaper
A pensioner has won £33,000 in damages from the Sunday World newspaper after it alleged his hotel was a brothel.
Vincent O' Toole, 80, from Waterford, Ireland, sued the newspaper after men began visiting his hotel in search of prostitutes after an article published in the Sunday World suggested that the name of his guesthouse, Maryland House, was local slang for a brothel.
The jury took two hours to decide that Mr O'Toole's reputation had been damaged by the article and awarded the damages, despite the Sunday World's testimony that a reader would reasonably discern that the article was meant as a joke.
Commenting on the outcome Mr O'Toole said he was "disillusioned" by the experience and, referring to the size of the award, said: "You would put that on a horse."
The Sunday World article was published in 2004 as part of a dictionary of local slang which described the Maryland as "an infamous small hotel in the red light district of Waterford city. Colloquial term for a brothel."