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High Court sinks to new low

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Tuesday November 21, 2006 03:09author by Keith Harris - Newsmedianewsauthor phone 0044 7716 737522 Report this post to the editors

Don't talk about your lawyer - they'll sue

The High Court has told a Co Clare man accused of being responsible for a website which encourages people to rate their lawyers that he could be jailed for four months if certain materials are not removed from the site by Thursday.

Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan told John Gill from Drumline in Newmarket on Fergus that if all material relating to barrister Jayne Maguire was not removed from the website,, by Thursday afternoon, he would jail him.

Ms Maguire is suing Mr Gill for libel. She says defamatory messages about her were posted on the website and she says Mr Gill is the administrator of the site.

Mr Gill denies being responsible for the site.

During the hearing a snort was heard from one of Mr Gill's supporters.

When one supporter told Mr Justice Finnegan 'the cat' had made the noise, he was fined €10,000 for contempt of court.

Mr Gill told the court he would make every effort to have the material removed.

He said he and his supporters would put an ad in the national newspapers in an effort to find out who was responsible for the site


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Center for Free Expression
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Oh well.

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author by Tpublication date Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From the report here it is not obvious that any proof was offered that McGill had anything to do with the website. So I can't see how the judge was able to order him about.

Is there any more information on that 10,000 euro fine. This is a ridiculous sum and shows that the state is really pissed off about the rateyoursoliciter website.

author by Jerry Corneliuspublication date Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I dont support any personal or sexist abuse published on the site but lawyers cannot be above criticism. Heres an interesting story on how things are developing in other countries. In that case the person sued was backed by Google, eBay and Amazon because of the implications of the case. Maybe John should approach these companies for support.

You will find the full story at the link.

Libel ruling boosts net providers

Bloggers and US internet providers cannot be liable for posting defamatory comments written by third parties, the California Supreme Court has ruled. It followed the case of San Diego woman sued after posting allegedly libellous comments online about two doctors.

Some of the internet's biggest names including Google, eBay and Amazon have supported a woman in a US legal battle that may save them from libel cases.

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author by Scepticpublication date Tue Nov 21, 2006 16:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Go to the link below, the two top comments are the ones that are bad enough to send a man who did not post them to prison for four months in our lovely little democracy. Read them as long as you are still able! Hold on to your chair and keep the heart medication ready before you click:

I can only give one comment: "SNORT"

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author by number 6 - leagalise freedom campaignpublication date Wed Nov 22, 2006 18:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Judge ruled in violation of the 'grunter's Fundamental rights (and yours) in the Court.

'Contempt of Court ' was introduced in the sixties and is unconstitutional along with the hefty fine that was imposed.

Given the fact that that the Courts are the Peoples' Courts , How can a Person be in contempt of their own Court?

author by Free Speech Loverpublication date Thu Nov 23, 2006 05:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It looks like all the comments about Ms Maguire have been deleted ahead of the deadline set by the Judge. I saved the page yesterday, so here they are for anyone who missed out:

4th of Oct, 2006 RYS Management Tried to destroy this site through a defamation suit. See Catherine Allison in Louth for full story.

18th of Oct, 2006 Sheilagh Have followed this woman's libel case and come to the conclusion that she can not be too interested in reputations in general, because she did not hesitate to accuse a man who didn't even know her! The whole farce is only an attempt to get rid of the equally hated RYS web site and VLPS. I hope it will be an enlightening experience to be on the receiving end of a defamation suit by John Gill/VLPS herself. She sets a very bad example for young professional women in Ireland.

20th of Nov, 2006 Joseph Finnegan Had not Ms Maguire brought the libel action, I like half the country (and the cat) would not have known about this site.

20th of Nov, 2006 paddy murphy

20th of Nov, 2006 John Hasnt anyone heard of free speech.

22nd of Nov, 2006 d This is merely a vote of support for RYS...and the cat. Long live RYS!

22nd of Nov, 2006 Mark If Jayne is a good barrister, then her rating would've improved through satisifed clients posting to the site. Now that there has been a ruling against the publication of her rating, I can only deduce two facts: (1) A client was not satisfied with Ms Maguire's services. (2) Ms Maguire wants a gagging order on negative publications with regard to her performance as a barrister.

22nd of Nov, 2006 DeMinx I hope to have some very special comments to make about this lady. I have contacted the Law Society many months ago with various complaints about the legal and illegal advice and actions of this woman. I WILL display the FULL results of the enquiry on RYS. Until then I do not want jepordise anything. AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE. She should come with a health and safety warning!!!

22nd of Nov, 2006 Declan She is so good, I will never use use anybody else.

22nd of Nov, 2006 Raleigh We would like to point out that this case has brought the good name of bicycles into disrepute. Are you aware of the number of innocent bystanding bicycles in the world that are not being charged with having village status. Justice for bicycles should prevail. Bicycles have always had a good moral standing the community and are classed as a very useful part of society.

22nd of Nov, 2006 Anne Marie I think this lady had the guts to take on and win against these cowards who dont have equal courage to stand behind their comments. And she has clearly proved that she has morals and integrity and will stand up for what she believes in, which makes for an excellent lawyer. And she clearly has ability to win a case, not just this one. Well done.

22nd of Nov, 2006 PQ Interesting about the judges fine of 10,000 euro over the cat comment. Would he have made such a fine if the case was not about one of his own. Talk about bias and impartial judges. My eye!! Roll on the site Rate our Judges.

22nd of Nov, 2006 Legal Query - Please Reply Free Speech? Blog can not be censored. How can something be found defamatory in the absence of ANY evidence to the contrary

22nd of Nov, 2006 Hugh Murphy Dear Jayne Maguire, seeing you're a champion of free speech, would you take a prima facie case corruption against Siptu for me. See Indymedia Siptu Atgwu corruption for details.

22nd of Nov, 2006 Patrick Kelly The truth will out.

22nd of Nov, 2006 The Cat meeow

22nd of Nov, 2006 browne

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author by Scepticpublication date Thu Nov 23, 2006 18:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You can read about it in the Indo:

However, it seems to me that John is now being libelled by the paper, when it says that he himself posted the comments that the High Court wanted removed.
Which material on the RYS site will the lawyers take exception to next, one wonders!

author by Scepticpublication date Thu Nov 23, 2006 20:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The link above will bring you to the text of a speech held during a symposium on Sentencing in Ireland which contains an interesting contribution about Justice Finnegan:

"The President of the High Court, Mr. Justice Joseph Finnegan, commented that in his view some murderers did not merit any custodial sentences at all".

From which we can only conclude that John Gill (threatened with 4 months in prison) is worse than some murderers in the judge's opinion.
That is the sort of thinking that must have got the good judge promoted to the Supreme Court a few days ago!

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