News Courts

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Priest secures injunction after being cleared of inappropriate behaviour

Tim Healy

Published 20/01/2014 | 16:18

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The chaplain has been granted an injunction
The chaplain has been granted an injunction

A PRIEST who was cleared of allegations he had engaged in sexually inappropriate behaviour with a student in a school where he is a teacher has been granted an injunction preventing his replacement as school chaplain.

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The High Court heard today the priest fears moves are afoot by the secondary school's board of management to replace him as chaplain despite the fact that an investigation exonerated him.

Counsel for the priest said he was put on administrative leave in October 2012 from his teaching/chaplaincy position in the school following the allegation.

Following a disciplinary investigation, he was cleared.   The school board then sought that he undergo a risk assessment conducted by a social worker.

He did so and the report from the social worker was "absolutely favourable" to the priest although it did recommend that his return to duty should be subject to a number of conditions, counsel said.

Last October the board wrote telling him he was to be restored to teaching duties subject to a number of onerous conditions, including that he be removed as chaplain, counsel said.

This meant the had not received the benefit of his exoneration and it had serious adverse reputational consequences for him, counsel said.

Today, Mr Justice Michael Peart granted counsel for the priest permission to bring judicial review proceedings over the matter and also granted an injunction that no one else be appointed chaplain, on a permanent basis, pending the outcome of the proceedings.

The application was brought with only the priest's side represented.

The judge said the matter could come back before the court on February 12.

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