Sometimes you see judgements in the courts that don’t seem to make any sense to the lay person.

In the below case Paddy O’Gorman is suing the Associated Newspapers Ltd (all the Mail papers) for libel. After 2 days of the case a paper owned by that group published a colour piece about the case that forced the whole thing to collapse.

Now O’Gorman has to bring another case. If he wins that he’ll get the costs back for the first 2 days but if he doesn’t bring another case or if he doesn’t win then he loses those costs. That doesn’t seem to make any sense to me. They published the offending article, they should pay. And they should be sanctioned for doing so the fools.

I’ve no opinion on the case itself but I think it’s blatantly unfair on an individual to be responsible for his own costs when the other party has wasted all that time and money.

Ruling that award must wait

High Court judge has ruled that broadcaster Paddy O’Gorman should get the costs of his aborted two-day libel trial if he is successful in any retrial.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said yesterday that Mr O’Gorman will be entitled to his own costs if he wins any retrial of the libel action taken by him against Associated Newspapers Ltd over the publication of an article in Ireland on Sunday (now the Irish Mail on Sunday ).

However, if Mr O’Gorman was unsuccessful in a retrial, it would be wrong that he would be entitled to the full costs for the two days of the aborted hearing, she said. The jury was discharged over an Irish Daily Mail “colour piece” about the first day of the trial.

Mr O’Gorman (50) had sued Associated Newspapers over an article in Ireland on Sunday in December 2003 which he claimed accused him of displaying a “perverted sexuality” during his participation in the reality TV show Celebrity Farm .

The trial began on November 21st but was stopped the next day because the Irish Daily Mail (also an Associated Newspapers title) carried an article about the first day’s evidence which Mr O’Gorman’s lawyers argued was prejudicial.

Ms Justice Dunne agreed the article had gone beyond the bounds of what is permitted, discharged the jury and adjourned an application by Mr O’Gorman for costs of the aborted hearing.

Yesterday, David Doyle SC, for Mr O’Gorman, said arguments by the defendants that the prejudicial article was in a different newspaper from the one being sued did not make any difference. The trial collapsed because of the actions of an employee of the defendants and there was no reasonable argument that could be made to save them from paying costs.

Eoin McCullough SC, for Associated Newspapers, said the Irish Daily Mail was a different newspaper with a different editor.

He said the colour piece had been reviewed by a lawyer the night before and a view was taken it would “not fall foul”, although the judge later took a different view.

Mr McCullough asked that the question of Mr O’Gorman’s costs be adjourned until after the retrial.

Ms Justice Dunne said she was very conscious that libel actions are of a “very peculiar” nature and it seemed to her there could be an injustice at this stage if she was to make an order for full costs for Mr O’Gorman.

If Mr O’Gorman is successful in the retrial, he will be entitled to the costs wasted by the discharge of the jury, she said.