Sunday 20 August 2017

O'Brien's lawyers to seek review of rules on witness

Sam Smyth

Lawyers for telecoms tycoon Denis O'Brien will seek a judicial review of a decision by the Moriarty Tribunal to restrict the examination of Prof Michael Andersen, a witness currently giving evidence.

Mr O'Brien's decision follows a ruling by the chairman that prohibits Prof Andersen being questioned about his allegations of bias he made about the tribunal's legal team.

Mr Justice Moriarty imposed strict time limits on counsel examining the Danish consultant, who has told the tribunal he must finish his evidence tomorrow and will not be available again until late next year.

Last week, Mr O'Brien and financier Dermot Desmond failed in a High Court action to stop former Attorney General and Justice Minister, Michael McDowell SC, appearing for the tribunal.

Drama

A spokesman for Mr O'Brien said last night that he expected last week's High Court decision on Mr McDowell would be appealed to the Supreme Court.

News of the latest legal moves follows another day of drama in the tribunal, when invoices were produced that show Prof Andersen had claimed fees for a meeting he had no recollection of attending.

Prof Andersen said his diary put him in Sweden at the time of the meeting and neither he nor his Danish colleague recalled the Copenhagen meeting of September 1995.

Earlier yesterday, Prof Andersen denied that he had his "strings pulled" by former minister Michael Lowry and two senior civil servants when deciding the winner of the second mobile-phone licence.

Tony Boyle of Persona consortium made the allegations about Mr Lowry, the Secretary General of the Department of Communication and Martin Brennan to the Moriarty Tribunal in 2005.

"Whoever had access to the criteria won the competition," said Mr Boyle. Prof Andersen vehemently denied the allegation: "Definitely not," he said.

The consultant will continue to give evidence today.

Irish Independent

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