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Monday 18 December 2017

Man loses claim that RTE stole 'Celebrity Bainisteoir'

Tim Healy

A BUSINESSMAN yesterday lost his claim that RTE and media personality Fiona Looney had stolen the idea for the reality show 'Celebrity Bainisteoir'.

Patrick Kinsella, of Callohill, Newtown, Co Wicklow, who was not legally represented and conducted his own case, claimed he had submitted the original idea entitled Top Coach/Top Team to RTE in August 2007.

Both RTE and Ms Looney denied the allegations they had stolen Mr Kinsella's concept for the programme.

Mr Kinsella now faces a legal bill of up to €200,000 after a judge ruled he should pay the other side's costs.

At the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice George Birmingham said "he was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt" that Ms Looney was the originator of the idea behind the RTE series 'Celebrity Bainisteoir'.

The idea, he said, was "Ms Looney's and hers alone" and she was "entitled to have that recognised".

It was, the judge added, "a deeply unfortunate case" and a case where "blind obsession had overwhelmed judgment and common sense".


During the seven-day hearing, evidence was given by Ms Looney and a number of RTE witnesses that the idea was first submitted to the national television station by her in 2004.

Referring to several witnesses called by Mr Kinsella during the hearing, the judge said "each witness called made it clear there was no merit whatsoever in his claims".

He said that the first programme of 'Celebrity Bainisteoir' had gone out on March 30, 2008. While Mr Kinsella had not seen it he had been told about it by a friend who was aware he had been working on a sports reality television programme.

After viewing the programme he engaged in correspondence with RTE and issued legal proceedings in February 2009.

The judge said that Mr Kinsella had contended that if RTE had been up front at an earlier stage the proceedings might not have gone to trial. This suggestion, he said, "was utterly without substance".

However, he said that the truth was that RTE had supplied Mr Kinsella with an affidavit which established conclusively the idea was first submitted to them by Ms Looney in 2004 -- three years before the plaintiff was considering a sports reality programme.

It is thought that Mr Kinsella may appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Irish Independent

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