‘It May Not Be Possible To Advance Some Of The Issues Raised By You’

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Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy speaking about the sale of Siteserv in the Dáil on May 6, 2015

Yesterday.

In the Sunday Business Post.

Tom Lyons reported that the Commission of Investigation tasked with investigating the sale of Siteserv to Denis O’Brien, and other matters – which is being led by High Court judge Brian Cregan – has told Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy that if she doesn’t reveal her sources, “it may not be possible to advance some of the issues raised” by her.

Mr Lyons reported:

The Commission wrote to Murphy earlier this month in relation to her 300-page witness statement, much of which it said appeared to be “dependent upon information and views supplied to you by unidentified persons”.

It said that the allegations in her statement and accompanying documentation appear to be based on confidential banking information about named individuals that “may have serious implications for the good name and reputation of the person or persons mentioned.”

The Commission said it was “of the view that, if such allegations, information and views are to be admitted into evidence, it will be necessary in the interests of fair procedures, and in order to protect the constitutional and person rights of the persons named, that the identity of the sources of such information and views should, in the first instance, be disclosed to the Commission.”

It said it would then consider whether such allegations, information and views should be admitted into evidence, and whether the identity of the source should be disclosed to witnesses or potential witnesses “bearing in mind the right of a witness to confront his or her accuser, where serious allegations are made against him or her.”

The Commission requested Murphy disclose the source or sources of 23 allegations made in her 300-page witness statement to the Commission as well as furnish it with six emails without redacting the name of their sender.

These allegations relate to O’Brien, Brian Harvey, the then chief executive of Siteserv, Mike Aynsley, the chief executive of IBRC and Richard Woodhouse, a senior executive of IBRC, among others.

…“The Commission is appreciative of the assistance you have provided it to date,” it said. “However, if and to the extent that sources are not disclosed and / or unredacted documents are not made available to the Commission, whether based on a claim of parliamentary privilege or otherwise, it may not be possible to advance some of the issues raised by you.”

Yesterday.

On Kildare FM, Ms Murphy said:

“Yes, I received a letter from Justice Brian Cregan during the week, I think it was Wednesday. I will be taken, and have taken and will take further advice before responding in detail. Essentially, I’ve given a commitment to people who came to me with information that that would be treated in confidence. I gave them absolute assurance that that would be the case and I’ll respect that. I feel duty-bound to respect that.”

Siteserv sale probe: Murphy told she may have to reveal sources (Sunday Business Post)

North Kildare TD Catherine Murphy Intends To Stand By Siteserv Sources (Kildare FM)

Previously: [REDACTED]’s 1.25% Interest Rate

Bringing The House Down

31 thoughts on “‘It May Not Be Possible To Advance Some Of The Issues Raised By You’

    1. Anomanomanom

      You clearly don’t know the difference between hear say and a confidential disclosure. There is evidence to back her claim, they just want to know where it came from and to have names.

      1. Listrade

        To be fair, there isn’t that much clarity in the law on the difference. It took the Law Reform Commission nearly 200 pages to discuss it (but they do tend to go on a bit). With documentary evidence as hearsay, it seems to be down to the judge except for a few circumstances.

        Even if it was a protected disclosure, there is still no absolute right to anonymity particularly with a criminal investigation.

    2. Anne

      Documentation isn’t hearsay –

      It said that the allegations in her statement and accompanying documentation appear to be based on confidential banking information about named individuals that “may have serious implications for the good name and reputation of the person or persons mentioned.”

      See that there – ‘Accompanying documentation.’

      The wording of that paragraph is strange to me. If there’s documentary evidence that would have implications for the ‘good name and reputation’ of any persons, then, your good name is hardly relevant to what the evidence shows.. and I notice the use of the word confidential there also.
      Still doesn’t negate the implication of what the documentation shows.

      This looks like a defense of individuals, even though it’s stated the documentation would have implications for them.

      And since when did Denis O’Brien have a good name and reputation? Sorry but was he not found to be bribing politicians? That’d give you a reputation all right, just not a very good one.

      1. Listrade

        It can be hearsay:

        From the Law Reform Commission:

        “It is well-established that the hearsay rule applies not merely to oral statements but also to written and documentary statements. This clearly covers an exceptionally wide range of important documents, including letters, medical records, business records and public records such as birth and death certificates.”

        If there isn’t someone available to prove the veracity of the documents, it can be considered hearsay.

        http://www.lawreform.ie/_fileupload/Hearsayfull.pdf

          1. Listrade

            Some is, some isn’t. It is a very grey and complex area, hence the LRC recommendation for reform.

            Don’t take this as support for the letter or their actions, but it simply isn’t that clear cut as to the documentation being hearsay or not. Hence why Catherine Murphy is taking legal advice before responding rather than advice from a comments section.

          2. anne

            It may be a grey and complex issue but going on what the commission said, they want the provider of the documentation to be disclosed in the interests of fair procedures…’bearing in mind the right of a witness to confront his or her accuser’.

            The person is not being requested to be disclosed to verify the veracity of any documentation provided.

        1. Anne

          “If there isn’t someone available to prove the veracity of the documents, it can be considered hearsay.”

          Which someone would that be by the way?
          By no means would that have to be the person who provided them.
          The authenticity of the documents provided could be verified, particularly if there’s signatures involved.

          Defending your good name shouldn’t come into it. You either signed documents or you didn’t. An opportunity for a rebuttal isn’t required to ask those questions.

          1. Listrade

            You have the right to face your accuser. The person who supplied the documents is making an accusation of wrongdoing. Unless they are dead or incapacitated in someway, that is generally the rule in criminal cases. Civil cases are not as stringent. The person could have some protection under the Protected Disclosures Act, but that anonymity isn’t absolute. However, as I understand it, that only applies to a criminal investigation. I don’t know if a commission of investigation falls under that.

            Short answer: none of us know if it is or isn’t hearsay and can’t make absolute statements either way.

          2. Anne

            “Short answer: none of us know if it is or isn’t hearsay and can’t make absolute statements either way.”

            That doesn’t seem to be reason the disclosure is being requested.

            “It said it would then consider whether such allegations, information and views should be admitted into evidence, and whether the identity of the source should be disclosed to witnesses or potential witnesses “bearing in mind the right of a witness to confront his or her accuser, where serious allegations are made against him or her.”

            It doesn’t seem like Information is being assessed ahead of the request for the disclosure. It said it would “then consider”… After the disclosure.

          3. Listrade

            @Anne, Let’s be clear in that I’m guessing we share a very common opinion on Redacted, probably identical. However, the documents were not gained in the normal evidence gathering process (not that there was much of an attempt to gather evidence), they are disclosures of personal banking information and correspondence without any chain of custody or warrant behind them.

            A quirk of the law is that even odious contemptuous individuals have the right to due process. Irish law isn’t as clear as other jurisdictions on where a source can remain unnamed. Courts still tend to give weight to evidence that is also supported by oral testimony. It’s absolutely right that it could be possible to verify the information through digital forensics, but we have no idea what format the documents are in, they could be scanned printouts or actual electronic attachments. But again, despite LRC recommendations, this aspect of the law hasn’t been updated.

            There may be some avenue to retain anonymity under protected disclosures (if it was a protected disclosure), but that’s a different argument.

            We shouldn’t seek to weaken or throw out the rules of evidence just because of who the accused is. Let’s not forget that last week there were pathetic attempts to state that sharing already publicly available video was contempt of court. Tweets were intimidating to a jury, just because the trial didn’t go as they hoped.

          4. anne

            How the evidence was gathered or the format of the evidence is not given as a reason for why the disclosure is being requested.

  1. Panty Christ

    Is it not the job of the judge to seek out the original documents as part of his investigation based on evidence supplied to him?

  2. Daisy Chainsaw

    It’s always the whistleblower that get the brunt of it when it comes to “justice” and openness in this country. Look at the Beef Tribunal, the only person threatened with imprisonment was the journalist who broke the story because she wouldn’t reveal her sources.

    1. Kolmo

      Dangerous business, throwing light on the well-spoken and overly-powerful cockroach class in Ireland..

  3. Holden MaGroin

    Perhaps I’m being naive but isn’t there a certain amount of logic to this request. Surely the proof must be irrefutable?
    Doesn’t everyone have the right to see all the evidence against them and an expectation of just plain fairness?

    1. Harry Molloy

      You’re right. it doesn’t matter who is seeking. That’s why the statue of that justice lady on top of the four courts wears a blindfold.

        1. Harry Molloy

          my mistake, I always assumed she was blindfolded as justice statues usually are. learn something new every day.

          anyway, point still stands, we can’t remove fundamental rights to due process simply because we don’t like someone. that would be an utterly massive and awful thing.

          1. paul

            has to keep her eyes open in case there’s a bit of money floating around that can be snapped up for a favourable result.

    2. Andy

      No.

      “Elites” aren’t entitled to due process because something something something said on twitter/facebook

  4. Sheik Yahbouti

    Hold on, we have people on here arguing on behalf of the man who became known as “Redacted” demanding that he receive ‘unredacted’ information. With his record of intimidation?? Yeah right.

    1. Biggins

      I see some people arguing for due process. Doesn’t matter if it’s for that fella, or Paul Murphy, we all need and want to see the courts behave without reproach.

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