Tuesday 16 January 2018

O'Brien 'entitled to know if Red Flag client is sworn enemy'

The High Court found Mr O'Brien had failed to show the client’s identity was relevant and necessary for his case against Red Flag. Stock photo
The High Court found Mr O'Brien had failed to show the client’s identity was relevant and necessary for his case against Red Flag. Stock photo

Tim Healy

Red Flag Consulting has disputed businessman Denis O'Brien's claim he is entitled to know the identity of its client for a dossier of allegedly defamatory material about him.

Mr O'Brien claims the dossier was compiled for the "hostile" motive of damaging him. He disputes Red Flag's claim it prepared the dossier in the ordinary course of business for a client whose identity it is entitled to keep confidential.

Michael Cush SC argued the client's identity is relevant to the motive behind the dossier, and Mr O'Brien is entitled to know if the client is his "absolute sworn number one enemy in the world".

But Michael Collins SC, for Red Flag, said it is a "pure fishing expedition".

The Court of Appeal heard two appeals by Mr O'Brien against the High Court's refusal to order Red Flag discover documents that would disclose the client's identity and its finding he had not sufficiently established "publication" of the dossier.

The High Court found Mr O'Brien had failed to show the client's identity was relevant and necessary for his case against Red Flag.

Appeal court president, Mr Justice Sean Ryan, sitting with Mr Justice Michael Peart and Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, said the court would deliver judgment "as soon as we can".

Mr O'Brien wants the documents for his action against Red Flag, alleging defamation and conspiracy in relation to certain contents of the dossier concerning the Siteserv sale, his charity activities in Haiti, and describing him as "Ireland's Berlusconi" in relation to his media ownership.

He also says he needs the documents to consider whether to also sue the client.

Red Flag denies defamation or conspiracy, denies Mr O'Brien had been harmed or suffered loss, and has raised issues about how he got the dossier. He has claimed he got it anonymously from a USB stick placed in an envelope left in his Dublin offices in October 2015.

Irish Independent

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