Court rules gardaí in alleged smear campaign be named
The High Court has directed Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to disclose the names and addresses of gardaí against whom he believes there is evidence of involvement in a smear campaign against a former colleague.
Ex-garda Keith Blythe had brought legal proceedings seeking to find out the identities of former colleagues who allegedly defamed him in messages circulated via WhatsApp and Facebook.
Late last night, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys directed the Commissioner to disclose to Mr Blythe's legal team, led by Paul O'Higgins SC, the names and addresses of any person in relation to whom the Commissioner considers there is prima facie evidence of involvement in the publication of defamatory information against Mr Blythe.
Mr O'Higgins told the court the alleged defamatory material had been spread on the internet in September 2018.
Judge Humphreys heard the alleged defamatory information had been posted in an apparent effort to smear Mr Blythe after he had issued High Court proceedings that had the potential of temporarily blocking the promotion of hundreds of gardaí.
The judge directed that the information be provided to Mr Blythe's legal team before 1pm today so that defamation proceedings may be issued against the proposed defendants prior to the expiry of a time limit tomorrow in which to launch defamation cases against them.
He refused to grant a stay on his order to facilitate an appeal on the grounds it might nullify the effect the order.