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Nora Wall Awaits Compensation

"The Phoenix" Magazine, Vol. 28, No. 19 September 24 - October 7, 2010 (by "Goldhawk")

The Nora Wall scandal is set to resurface and haunt the Department of Justice, the Minister Dermot Ahern and the Gardai following the filing of High Court proceedings by the nun who was the subject of a high profile miscarriage of justice. The question is will the case ever come to court?

Wall was incredibly convicted in 1999 of the "gang rape" of a 12 year old girl in 1990 in company with homeless drifter Pablo McCabe, who has since died. Her conviction followed a travesty of a trial involving some highly dubious evidence and accusations of bad faith levelled by the defence against the prosecution, while the DPP subsequently referred to "the errors which occurred in relation to the handling of the case by the prosecution."

The hapless nun initially headed to the Court of Criminal Appeal in November 1999 which, however, refused to order a re-trial but in 2005 the same court declared a miscarriage of justice on the basis of newly discovered facts, notably that a crucial witness had lied. The certificate of miscarriage of justice was granted on December 16, 2005, enabling Nora Wall to enter discussions with the Department of Justice over appropriate compensation. She had happily received damages of 175,000 Euro earlier that year following groundless allegations which had been published in the Sunday Wurst *** back in 1999 but the negotiations with the State proved more fraught and dragged on for a number of years with little sign of progress. In 2009, Wall brought judicial review proceedings to challenge what she claimed was the refusal of the State to make a decision on her claim for compensation, although this was struck out in January this year and an offer of compensation was finally made.

The offer was however deemed derisory by Nora Wall and her lawyer, Sean Costello and, as a result, a plenary summons has just been filed against the Minister for Justice, the State and the Attorney General. This is to be followed by a statement of claim from the nun and then the serious business of negotiation will begin in earnest. Although the issue has dragged on for almost five years already, Goldhawk suspects that the Department of Justice will be keen to avoid a high profile outing in the Four Court Goldmines, where details of the botched investigation and the obtaining of the false witness statement will inevitably be examined in fine detail. Will Nora Wall become the first ever millionaire nun?

*** a reference to The Sunday World. "The Phoenix" was the only publication to report the success of Nora Wall's libel action against The Sunday World - in 2002 (not 2005)

Worst Libels Nora Wall

"The Phoenix" Magazine, 8 November 2002

"THE Sunday Worst recently published an unqualified and wholehearted apology to Nora Wall for a story they published three years ago, although the apology did not refer to any aspect of the original report that might have provoked a protest from Wall.. However there was nothing abstract about the settlement that the newspaper made with Wall and the Worst had to cough up E175,000 to the former nun.

"The newspaper baldly referred to the fact that their " groundless allegations reflected seriously on her character" and went on to "unreservedly withdraw" the allegations and "apologise sincerely" to Wall. The former Mercy sister's conviction for rape was quashed within days of receiving a life sentence in July, 1999, following a travesty of a trial involving some highly dubious evidence and accusations of bad faith levelled by the defence against the prosecution. The ex-nun was incredibly, convicted of participation in a "gang rape" following evidence that she held down a child while a male friend of hers raped the minor.

"In that context, comment about Wall and the evidence against her may have been legally defensible if published before the quashing of the conviction. However, the Worst published a lurid story about Wall that bore no relation to the evidence against her in the rape trial. Even this would have been legally defensible were it not for the quashing of Wall's conviction which came after the Worst's article on her.

The texts of The Sunday World's apology dated 27 October 2002 and of their libellous article dated 11 July 1999 are contained in the article on this website "Sunday World Apology for Libelling Nora Wall" They were previously published on the website of the Alliance Support victims group