Monday 24 October 2016

RTÉ refused in bid to have injunction on report lifted

Tim Healy

Published 13/06/2015 | 02:30

Businessman Denis O’Brien
Businessman Denis O’Brien

The High Court has refused RTÉ's application to fully discharge an injunction preventing the broadcast of a report on businessman Denis O'Brien's confidential affairs with Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

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Mr Justice Donald Binchy said he would not discharge in full the existing order, which applies pending the full hearing of the proceedings against RTÉ.

However, he would amend it to reflect the "dramatic" developments since it was made last month. He will hear submissions on the final form of the amended order next week.

RTÉ argued it was pointless to leave injunctions in place given developments including Dáil speeches by TDs Catherine Murphy and Pearse Doherty, and a statement by former IBRC CEO Mike Aynsley concerning Mr O'Brien's banking relationship with IBRC.


Mr O'Brien's lawyer, Michael Cush SC, opposed discharging the order in full for reasons including RTÉ's failure to give undertakings not to publish any other confidential information it may have on Mr O'Brien's banking affairs with IBRC.

IBRC also opposed full discharge, on grounds including the bank was entitled to absolute privilege over any communications with customers deriving from legal advice.

Earlier this week, the sides agreed the injunction should no longer cover information previously deemed confidential to Mr O'Brien but now in the public domain.

But Mr O'Brien did oppose broadcast of any other confidential information concerning his banking affairs with IBRC.

Mr Justice Binchy said RTÉ's application to discharge was reasonable to make in light of developments to date.

However, it did not follow the order should not be continued in relation to information not yet made public. On the contrary, the rationale of the original court decision still applies concerning any information not yet in the public domain, he said.

While there was no reason to believe RTÉ would not continue to act responsibly in this matter, Mr O'Brien and IBRC should not be required to rely on its good intentions.

Mr O'Brien had presented evidence he was likely to sustain significant financial losses if his private banking affairs were put in the public domain, he said.

For those reasons, he would not discharge the order in full but would amend it, he ruled.

Addressing IBRC's concerns about legal privilege, the judge said he would not vacate the order to the extent of enabling RTÉ publish information derived from legal advice and subject of legal professional privilege.

Irish Independent

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