Peter Charlton: there is a libel defence of public interest

Peter Charlton was appointed to the High Court earlier this year. Immediately prior to his appointment he had been the lead counsel at the Morris Tribunal and before that one of the leading criminal barristers in the State – he appeared in most of the celebrated murder trials of the last decade, including the Catherine Nevin trial.

He is author of several criminal law text books, author of a recent book on evil, member of a choir and father of young children.

Gambling on libel

Had she not sued RTÉ, Beverley Flynn would probably be a cabinet minister by now. Her involvement in the NIB tax fraud would have been brushed off. By Vincent Browne

Scandals: Thornton Hall

The Comptroller and Auditor General has concluded that the state paid “at least twice the market price” when they purchased land in North County Dublin for a new super prison containing the relocated Mountjoy and Central Mental Hospital. In the report, published in September 2006, it said that agricultural land in the area was selling at between €20,000 and €30,000 per acre, at the time of purchase in 2005. But the government bought 150 acres at €200,000 an acre for the prison complex site, a total purchase price of €29.9 million.

Benedict on Jesus

Jesus of Nazareth, a new book on Jesus by the Pope, written in his personal capacity, has just been published in Italy. Benedict writes on how the message of Jesus was radically mediated by “Hellinisation” – the infusion of the message by Greek philosophy. By John Allen

The weasel tax

• VAT brings in more revenue that income tax, four times more than the capital gains tax levied on profits from trading shares or property, and twice as much as was paid by all the companies in the country
• It is paid by everyone and impacts disproportionately on the poor
• Our VAT rates are among the highest in the EU
• None of the political parties are proposing to cut VAT

By Sheila Killian