Privilege Revoked

at

From top:  eviction in Falsk, Strokestown, County Roscommon, December 11, 2018 ; Emmett Corcoran, editor of The Democrat

This afternoon

A High Court judge has ruled gardai are entitled to carry out a limited examination of the contents of a mobile phone seized from the home of a provincial newspaper editor as part of their investigation into a violent incident at a repossessed house in Co Roscommon.

The ruling means gardai can access calls, texts, social media messages, photos, videos and other information on the phone between December 11th and 17th 2018.

In an important judgment on Friday addressing the protection of journalistic sources and other issues, Mr Justice Garrett Simons refused to grant Emmet Corcoran and his company orders quashing a search warrant forcing him to hand over his phone when gardai arrived at his Strokestown home.

….The phone was seized as part of a garda investigation into violence at a house in Strokestown

Following a tip-off, Mr Corcoran says he arrived at the scene, where a number of vehicles were on fire, before gardai and fire services arrived…

…Before his phone was seized, Mr Corcoran, who invoked journalistic privilege some months earlier in relation to its contents, switched it off and refused to provide the PIN

Gardai can examine limited content on journalist’s phone, High Court rules (Breakingnews)

Previously:  Cause And Effect

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8 thoughts on “Privilege Revoked

  1. ACI Question

    Quoting that article –

    “Perhaps tellingly”, Mr Corcoran had provided no information whatsoever as to the circumstances in which that individual approached him and there had been no attempt to explain the motivation of the source or what public interest they sought to advance by publication of the criminal incident.

    Without in any way questioning Mr Corcoran’s own bona fides, there must be some doubt as to the motivation of the source in seeking to have the events publicised. It might not be unreasonable to infer the motivation may have been to propagate the “message” that action would be taken against those, such as security personnel allegedly assaulted, who seek to facilitate repossessions by financial institutions. The evidence did not establish this source was motivated to provide information the public were entitled to know.”

    End quote

    If the public were entitled to know about the incident in question then I don’t see really think the “source’s” motives are important, even given the context provided in the second paragraph.

    Ideally in a case like this, if you accept that the motive of the source is important, a third party would be able to make that judgement but in practical terms that’s probably not feasible.

  2. Examiner No. 3

    Does this ruling have any implications for the examination of phones belonging to our erstwhile friends Callinan and O’Sullivan, I wonder?

    1. GiggidyGoo

      They were wiped and donated to charity before anyone could have a look. If fact, I think some were lost?

    1. Truth in the News

      A national campaign to gather funds to appeal this and go all the way to
      Europe, there are records for Callinans and O’Sulivans phone traffic, its
      that no one bothered to look for it.

    1. Rosette of Sirius

      I could be wrong but I think if he doesn’t he could be held in contempt and imprisoned until he coughs it up….

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