TWO BROTHERS accused of being ‘a pair of paedophiles’ by the chairman of Kilkenny Hunt have taken an action for defamation.
Hubert and Norman Daniels of Rathielty, Rathmoyle, Kilkenny took the action against Edward (Ned) Norris, Danesrath, Knocktopher at Kilkenny
It was alleged that Mr Norris called the brothers ‘a pair of paedophiles’ on November 12, 2004. The defendant claimed that he accused the two brothers of acting like paedophiles and not in fact being a pair of paedophiles. “I remember saying that they were ‘acting like a pair of paedophiles,’ said Mr Norris.
Mr Norris is making a counterclaim for harassment against the Daniels brothers in the case.
A recording engineer, Robert Bowden, gave evidence that he enhanced the re-recording from a video taken on, November 12, 2004 and that the words were; “a pair of paedophiles”. There were claims also by the defence team that the action was being taken to force Kilkenny hunt to sell land to the farmers over which they had an option and it was an attempt to get the hunt disbanded.
Hubert Daniels told the court that he videoed confrontations with the hunt and on one more than one occasion, Mr Daniels said he was videoing the hunt as a group and not the children who were there with their parents. He said that the words used by the defendant were ‘wickedness and evil’.
Hubert Daniels said that, on November 12, 2004, he was “encircled” by the defendant when the hunt was in the area. “He shoved his face into my face and, at one point, his nose came in contact with my face”. He was “frightened” and subsequently heard Mr Norris saying that he and his brother were “a pair of paedophiles”.
When it was suggested by Mr Johnny Walsh, counsel for the defendant that the action was being taken to force the hunt to sell land to the Daniels under an agreement from 1978, Hubert Daniels said that the agreement could stay in place; “until hell freezes over” and that he was in court to defend his good name and reputation which he claimed had been ruined by the false allegations against him and his brother made by Mr Norris who was the chairman of Kilkenny Hunt at the time.
His brother Norman Daniels made it clear that he was forced to act when the words spoken by Mr Norris in 2004 were repeated in 2010 by someone else. He made it clear that he had never been or was not a member of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports but that any action he had taken was to defend his property from unlawful incursions by Kilkenny Hunt.
Judge Tom Teehan made it clear to Mr Daniels that no one believed he was a paedophile. This was after Mr Daniels got upset in the witness box.
Mr Norris, who has been involved with the Kilkenny hunt for over 30 years said that he was aware of an agreement negotiated by the late Major Victor McCalmont where there was an option for the plaintiffs to buy an area of land, known as the Foxes Cover if the hunt was disbanded.
In January 2000 there was an issue over damage caused to the plaintiffs’ lands. Mr Norris stated that the ‘damage had nothing to do with the Kilkenny Hunt’. The court heard that following this incident the plaintiffs were advised by their solicitor to video the hunt so that they could identify if anyone caused any damage in the future.
Mr Norris said that since 2000 every time the hunt has been in the area, apart from last Saturday, the plaintiffs had videotaped the hunt. On November 12, 2004 it is alleged by the plaintiffs that the defendant said that they were ‘a pair of paedophiles’. “I remember saying that they were ‘acting like a pair of paedophiles’. My next sentence was to ‘Go away and leave the kids and the hunt alone’.”
“I didn’t think that either of them was a paedophile, neither does any member of the hunt or the community,” he added.
When counsel put it to the defendant that his counterclaim of harassment was ‘utterly spurious’ Mr Norris replied that was ‘grossly unfair’. “I was close to a nervous breakdown,” he said.
The court also heard that the Kilkenny Hunt is the oldest hunt club in the country and was formed in 1797.
Judge Teehan adjourned the case to February 4 for further evidence.