Ardee District Court has over the last few months been the home of one of the more high profile copyright civil actions of recent times – and on Monday, two court cases brought against Leo Sherlock of TheLiberal.ie were settled at the court sitting in the town.
Mr Sherlock, who resides on the Ardee Road in Collon, was ordered to pay substantial damages to both Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd and CCC Nuact Teoranta, the court reporting agency, for multiple copyright infringements.
TheLiberal.ie founder was also ordered to publish an apology to the claimants on his website this week. When the civil cases came before Ardee District Court on Monday, the solicitors for both parties told Judge John Gallagher that the matters had been settled.
The Irish Times report that Sherlock, 35, was not present in court on Monday. Sherlock did not previously appear in an earlier sitting but did appear before Judge Grainne Malone in February when he represented himself. Since then he was represented by solicitor Malachy Steenson of Canning Landy and Co.
Between June 2015 and September 2016, Sherlock was found to have breached copyright laws on numerous occasions.
In February, Sherlock was found to have not filed formal documents in the case and told the court he had been in very bad health for 14 years and had been in and out of hospital. He added that he wrote to Independent Newspapers in late December last last year but they did not accept his explanation.
This morning (Thursday), Mr Sherlock published his apology but appeared not to stick to the terms as laid out in court. The settlement ordered that the apology should be published as a news story on TheLiberal.ie no later than today and it was to remain at the top of the home page of the website for at least 48 hours.
However, Mr Sherlock’s apology to Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd and CCC Nuacht Teoranta has been published in light pink font (later turned darker) and is a png image meaning the text cannot be found via search engines.
The apology itself does not in fact appear on the home page of the website, nor is it presented as a news story. Instead, there is a a link to the apology on the left hand column of the page. The Irish Times reported on Thursday afternoon that Independent Newspapers were unhappy with the apology, according to sources.
If Mr Sherlock is found to have failed to have carried out the settlement as agreed, he could be found in contempt of court and may be back in Ardee sooner than he would have liked. On Monday, the Collon native joked “I’m in court this week” on Twitter, in a tweet accompanied by a photo of him at Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
— Leo Sherlock (@LeoSherlock) July 10, 2017