Alan Shatter loses court appeal on Wallace claims

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter

By Ray Managh

The appeal by former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter against a finding that he breached the Data Protection Act by disclosing information about Independent TD Mick Wallace, has been dismissed in court.

Immediately after the judgment was handed down this morning, Deputy Wallace -about whom Mr Shatter disclosed information on RTE's Prime Time - said it left the former Minister "very open."

Mr Wallace said it was significant that the court had taken on board the fact that what the Minister did was not in the public interest.

This morning in the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Jacqueline Linnane said the Data Protection Commissioner found that the Minister had breached the act by disclosing information regarding members of the gardai using their discretion when he had been found using his mobile phone while driving.

The commissioner found that Mr Shatter had failed to uphold his statutory duties under the Data Protection Acts when he disclosed the information on Prime Time.

Mr Shatter had claimed in his appeal that the commissioner had pre-determined the matter before he made his finding.

Dismissing Shatter's appeal and awarding costs against him, Judge Linnane said that the commissioner had considered the matter fully and at length.

She said the commissioner had taken into account the arguments put forward by Mr Shatter; fair procedures had been followed and reasons given for the conclusion and decision reached.

"I do not consider that it has been shown that the decision made was vitiated by any serious or significant error or series of such errors….and I dismiss the appeal," Judge Linnane said.

Judge Linnane said that in her view the objection regarding Mr Shatter not having proper standing to bring his appeal had been well founded as his actions at the time had been carried out in his capacity as Minister for Justice and on this ground alone she would have dismissed the appeal.