Meanwhile, In The High Court

at

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This morning

Justice Donal Binchy, in the High Court, has refused to lift an injunction preventing RTÉ from reporting information about Denis O’Brien and IBRC.

RTÉ’s Vivienne Traynor told Seán O’Rourke earlier:

“RTÉ had argued there was no point anymore in this injunction, that everything was in the public domain and the effect of the order continuing was like holding a sword of Damocles over RTE and the entire media.

The judge [Donald Binchy] disagreed, he said today in this 11-page judgement that the court was being asked to lift orders in relation to documentation and information which was unknown and which may or may not already be in the public domain.

Now lawyers for Denis O’Brien were, he noted, no longer objecting to the broadcast or publication of the proposed script because much of that is in the public domain but lawyers for IBRC say some of the script contains legal advice and they were claiming legal professional privilege over that but, firstly, Mr Justice Binchy said that the court was also being asked to recognise that RTÉ had acted responsibly to date and to accept that there was no reason why it would not continue to do so.

And he said that it was indeed the case that RTE had acted responsibly and it was reasonable for the broadcaster to make this application. But notwithstanding the developments which he described as dramatic, he said it did not follow that the court order should not be continued in relation to information that has not yet come into the public domain. ”

He said, on the contrary, the rationale of the original decision of the court still applies in relation to any documentation or information that has not yet come into the public domain and, interestingly Seán, he also said that the defendant, that’s RTÉ, continues to hold confidential information and documents belonging to the plaintiffs, that’s Denis O’Brien and IBRC, and has declined to identify that documentation, in its possession and he said that the plaintiffs had established a convincing case that this documentation is the subject of a right of confidence and if the case proceeds to a full trial and if the plaintiffs succeed, he said, they will obtain orders requiring the return of that documentation aswell as permanent injunctions regarding publication of that information.”

[Denis O’Brien’s lawyers] were saying that, while the information contained in the proposed script was now in the public domain that RTÉ was still in possession of other information and did not say what that information was and they said that the terms of the injunction went beyond simply what the proposed script was.

And the judge agreed and said that the plaintiff shouldn’t have to rely on the good intentions of RTÉ and it wasn’t unreasonable to infer that RTÉ wanted to leave open the possibility that it might want to publish information concerning Mr O’Brien between now and a full hearing of this matter unless restrained from a court by doing so. And he said it wouldn’t be appropriate to vacate the existing order but instead, the correct course of action to take was to amend the order to take account of developments since it was originally made.”

High Court refuses to completely lift O’Brien injunction against RTÉ (RTÉ)

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19 thoughts on “Meanwhile, In The High Court

  1. Lilly

    Can we commission that NCAD student to do another in his nude series. Tell him he’ll need extra paint.

  2. Walter-Ego

    Can RTE not give that information to Catherine Murphy. Let her read it out in The Dail and then RTE can report on it. Simples.

    1. dereviled

      Nopes.
      Newstalk said yesterday that the terms of the enquiry require TDs not to mention anything until December 31st.
      Anyone?

  3. Anne

    This is a farce.

    I posted this the other day.. here’s Fintan O’Toole talking about the injunction, saying it’s unheard of in any democracy. It’s referred to as prior restraint. Restraining the media in advance of publication.

    Here’s the Podcast –
    (broadsheet get a shout out too) (@ min 6:10 approx Fintan talks about this)
    https://soundcloud.com/irishtimes-politics/denis-obrien-accountability-and-the-state

    O’Toole said the injunction was extraordinary.. That you have something that would not be allowed in many democracies, which is prior restraint of the media. That you can actually impose a ban on media reporting. Which is really taken on one side of an argument. That ban is imposed and there is no rationale published for that…
    There’s an element of principle to that..whether prior restraint is permissible in democracies.

    He goes on to say he was talking to an American judge who said he couldn’t believe the ruling… in terms of prior restraint. (prior restraint being that you can’t publish something, for fear that you ‘might’ damage someone’s reputation.. a publisher can be made responsible IF false allegations were made after publication, but prior restraint is unheard of).

    Fine Gael appointed judge was it, who granted the injunction?

    1. Buzz

      ‘t I find it worrying that increasing numbers of normally rational people are starting to believe that Enda and Denis have a judge in theiir pocket. They couldn’t have, could they?

  4. Anne

    “the correct course of action to take was to amend the order to take account of developments since it was originally made.”

    The developments being that an upgraded investigation was announced into transactions at IRBC, and that accountability of massive amounts of state funds supersedes the rights of confidence of the individual in this case, no????

  5. Anne

    So the judge amended the order to cover all information not already in the public domain?
    Is this some sort of joke?

    He stated previously he didn’t intend the injunction to cover anything mentioned in the Dail and the reporting of Dail proceedings.
    Dail privilege still supersedes a high court ruling.. and also a members of the Oireachtas cannot be prosecuted for what they say in the Dail.
    Is this an attempt to intimidate Catherine Murphy however, and silence people.. as Bernard Durkan was doing in the Dail the other day?

    I suppose Redacted’s lawyers better get a bit prepared and figure out what was in the public domain before today, before they start the spoofing and threatening… or maybe not. The chancers seem to threaten on whim alone.

  6. Anne

    Oh looky… more letters from his spoofers.

    “The Committee on Procedures and Privileges (CPP) has written to lawyers for businessman Denis O’Brien defending the right of Independent TD Catherine Murphy to avail of Dáil privilege.

    The CPP, which is chaired by Ceann Comhairle, Sean Barrett, met last night to consider two letters from Mr O’Brien’s lawyers complaining that Ms Murphy had abused Dáil privilege and had breached the terms of a High Court injunction.

    After taking advice from Oireachtas legal counsel Melissa English the CPP agreed a response in which it rejected the claim that Ms Murphy had abused Dáil privilege”

    What a fupping nerve.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/murphy-did-not-abuse-d%C3%A1il-privilege-with-o-brien-comments-1.2244732

  7. Anne

    In a personal letter from Mr O’Brien to Mr Barrett, dated May 20th, the businessman said Ms Murphy “persisted in making false and inaccurate statements to the Dáil about my personal banking arrangements based on confidential information which she knew to have been stolen”.

    Mr O’Brien said he was “not going to engage on the detail of the inaccuracies”

    Of course not.. he doesn’t want to discuss the details.

  8. Truth in the News

    There is another way to deal with “redacted” and it proved highly effective in
    the 1880’s and if re employed, will soon have the desired effect.
    Whats going on here is an attempt to stifle free speech, there is nothing private
    in this, it is the financial dealings connected with a state bank in liqidation
    giving write offs and special interest rates all funded by the taxpayer.

    1. Anne

      Yeah, but he’s established a convincing case that this documentation is the subject of a right of confidence.

      Donald is convinced it’s none of our business… even though there’s supposed to be an investigation into the transactions at IRBC.

      I wonder what else is to come out? How would Redacted and his lawyers know what documentation RTE have?
      The judge is convinced these unknown documents are confidential anyways.. whatever they are.

      1. Anne

        ‘Prior restraint’ Fintan O’Toole said was unheard of in most democracies..

        The documentation hasn’t been identified, but whatever they have, it’s probably confidential judge.. Yep, convincing all right.

        Does this give Redacted bully-boys carte blanche to threaten anyone, if information is published that hasn’t already been published?

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