Friday 23 August 2019

O'Brien faces €1m bill after Supreme Court ruling

Denis O'Brien
Denis O'Brien

Tim Healy

Businessman Denis O'Brien is facing an estimated €1m bill after the Supreme Court ruled he must pay most of the costs of his failed case over statements made by two TDs in the Dáil about his banking affairs.

The seven-judge court yesterday upheld a decision requiring Mr O'Brien to pay the costs of the High Court hearing of his case, brought against the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges, the Dáil and the State.

However, it directed both sides to pay their own costs of Mr O'Brien's unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court decision.

Giving the cost ruling, the Chief Justice, Mr Justice Frank Clarke, said Mr O'Brien had argued he was entitled to costs for reasons including he had won on some of the issues raised. The court considered there was no merit in that argument, as the relevant costs jurisprudence did not suggest points could be totted up in such a way.

However, the fact the Supreme Court had, to an extent, dismissed the appeal on the basis of somewhat different reasoning from that of the High Court is relevant, he said.

That, along with the importance and novelty of the underlying issues and their resolution, would warrant "some departure" from the normal rule on costs.

In all the circumstances, he said the court considered the justice of the case would be met by leaving the High Court order on costs in place, but making no order on the costs of the appeal, with the effect both sides pay their own costs of the appeal.

Mr O'Brien's case arose from statements separately made in the Dáil by Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty in May and June 2015.

He complained that those made pointless an injunction he had obtained against RTÉ some weeks earlier restraining it broadcasting details of his banking relationship with State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

He went to the High Court after the CPP rejected his complaints about the TDs' actions.

Irish Independent

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