Wednesday 11 December 2019

Contempt of court action against Irish Independent to be heard in December

The Four Courts Dublin
The Four Courts Dublin

Sarah Stack

A CONTEMPT of court action against the Irish Independent over some of its coverage of the Anglo Tapes will be heard in December.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has sought an injunction in the High Court against the newspaper in relation to certain audio tapes, transcripts and articles it published last week.

The case was mentioned this morning / yesterday before the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, who listed it for hearing in Cork on December 1.

The action had been launched on Monday in connection with a story by journalist Paul Williams, which appeared in the Irish Independent and on over three days last week.

Paul O’Higgins, senior counsel for the DPP, and Shane English BL, for Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd, both told the court they would be happy for the hearing to proceed in early October.

However the court heard there was “no capacity” left in the court in Dublin and the first date for the hearing – which is expected to take up to two days – was Monday, December 1 in Cork.

Mr English told the judge he was “happy to meet any issues Mr O’Higgins might have in relation to the publication”.

An application by Mr English that he may want to “respond to affidavits” was granted by the judge, and must be lodged by September.

The Irish Independent denies it is in contempt of court, but has removed portions of the tapes at the centre of the action from its website, without prejudice, pending a full hearing.

The DPP has sought an order directing that Irish Independent editor Claire Grady and editor-in-chief Stephen Rae be committed to prison, and/or the sequestration of the company’s assets, for contempt in relation to material published last Thursday under the heading “Anglo: The new tapes revealed”.

It has also claimed that the publication of further material is calculated to interfere with the criminal trial process in relation to events at the former Anglo Irish Bank.

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