The ma­jor cases ex­pected to come to court in Ire­land in 2019

From the Quinn fam­ily to Denis O’Brien to the mur­der case of Anas­ta­sia Kr­ie­gal

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - NEWS REVIEW - Colm Keena & Mary Carolan

The trial of two youths charged with the mur­der of 14- year- old Anas­ta­sia Kr­ie­gal is likely to one of the most high-pro­file cases to come be­fore the courts in 2019. The teenager’s body was found in a dis­used farm­house off the Clonee road in Lu­can, Co Dublin, in May 2018. The trial is to take place be­fore a jury in the Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court in April and the iden­tity of the 14- year- old boys will not be dis­closed be­cause of their age.

Quinn fam­ily

The trial in one of the big­gest sets of pro­ceed­ings to come be­fore the Com­mer­cial Court in re­cent times, in terms of the amounts at is­sue, the le­gal costs in­volved, and the ex­pected du­ra­tion of the trial, is sched­uled to be­gin in March.

Sean Quinn’s wife, Pa­tri­cia, and mem- bers of the Quinn fam­ily are su­ing the Ir­ish Bank Res­o­lu­tion Cor­po­ra­tion (IBRC), now in liq­ui­da­tion, over the le­gal­ity of loans is­sued by An­glo Ir­ish Bank to the value of ¤ 2.34 bil­lion. The loans were is­sued to com­pa­nies in the Quinn Group and the bank’s se­cu­rity was used by An­glo to seize the Quinn busi­nesses in 2011.

The trial could last as long as three months. It is linked to an­other set of pro­ceed­ings, the con­spir­acy pro­ceed­ings, which may fol­low the first set.

In the con­spir­acy pro­ceed­ings IBRC is claim­ing that mem­bers of the Quinn fam­ily and oth­ers sought to put as­sets worth hun­dreds of mil­lions of euro, over which An­glo had a le­gal charge, be­yond the reach of the bank.

An­other dis­pute that will con­tinue be­fore the courts next year is the one taken by the Data Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sioner aris­ing from com­plaints by the Aus­trian pri­vacy cam­paigner, Max Schrems, over the send­ing of his per­sonal data to the US by way of a sys­tem through which vast quan­ti­ties of data are pro­cessed by US govern­ment agen­cies.

The High Court has sought a rul­ing from the Court of Jus­tice of the Eu­ro­pean Union on a num­ber of EU Com­mis­sion de­ci­sions ap­prov­ing the data chan­nels. Face­book has sought to chal­lenge the High Court’s right to seek such a rul­ing. The Supreme Court has said it will con­sider the Face­book ap­peal early in the new year.

An­gela Kerins

The Supreme Court is sched­uled to give judg­ments in two re­lated cases in­volv­ing the pow­ers of the Oireach­tas. The sep­a­rate cases in­volve the for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of Re­hab, An­gela Kerins, and the busi­ness­man Denis O’Brien, both of whom failed in the High Court when they sought sanc­tions against the Oireach­tas.

Kerins claimed that hear­ings held by the Dáil Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee in 2014 con­cern­ing the Re­hab group amounted to a witch hunt against her, and sought dam­ages and a dec­la­ra­tion that what hap­pened to her was un­law­ful.

How­ever the High Court ruled that the Con­sti­tu­tion did not al­low it tres­pass on the pro­ceed­ings of the com­mit­tee.

Sim­i­lar is­sues were raised in a case taken by O’Brien who com­plained un­suc­cess­fully about state­ments in the Dáil by deputies Cather­ine Mur­phy and Pearse Do­herty about his bank­ing af­fairs, af­ter the busi­ness­man had se­cured a court in­junc­tion stop­ping RTÉ from dis­clos­ing the in­for­ma­tion.

The High Court dis­missed the case say­ing that what was be­ing sought was pro­hib­ited by the Con­sti­tu­tion and would have a chill­ing ef­fect on par­lia­men­tary speech.

Mean­while O’Brien con­tin­ues to press an­other case where he is seek­ing cer­tain or­ders against the pub­lic af­fairs con­sul­tancy Red Flag.

O’Brien is al­leg­ing crim­i­nal con­spir­acy and defama­tion by the com­pany and a num­ber of its lead­ing fig­ures, in re­la­tion to a dossier that con­tained news­pa­per ar­ti­cles and as­sess­ments of the busi­ness­man, sev­eral of which fo­cused on the Mo­ri­arty Tri­bunal.

O’Brien is al­leg­ing that Gal­way busi­ness­man De­clan Gan­ley is the Red Flag client be­hind the dossier’s assem­bly. The High Court is to hear an ap­pli­ca­tion from Gan­ley in Fe­bru­ary that he be dropped from the ac­tion.

A third mat­ter be­fore the courts to which O’Brien is con­nected is the in­quiry be­ing con­ducted by in­spec­tors ap­pointed un­der the Com­pa­nies Acts to in­ves­ti­gate cer­tain mat­ters to do with In­de­pen­dent News & Me­dia plc (INM), of which O’Brien is the largest share­holder.

The in­spec­tors are sched­uled to pro­vide their first in­terim re­port to the Pres­i­dent of the High Court, Mr Jus­tice Peter Kelly, in April. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is into al­leged scru­tiny of jour­nal­ists’ pri­vate data by ex­ter­nal se­cu­rity con­sul­tants who were al­legedly paid by a com­pany owned by O’Brien, as well as claims that there may have been an at­tempt to sell ra­dio sta­tions be­long­ing to O’Brien to INM, at an in­flated price.

Gra­ham Dwyer

Mean­while Gra­ham Dwyer ( right) con­tin­ues to pre­pare an ap­peal against his con­vic­tion for the mur­der of child­care worker Elaine O’Hara.

Data about mo­bile phones formed part of the ev­i­dence that led to his be­ing found guilty and in Novem­ber Dwyer won a case in the High Court where seek­ing cer­tain dec­la­ra­tions con­cern­ing Ire­land’s data pro­tec­tion laws.

The State has yet to de­cide if it will ap- peal the de­ci­sion. It may yet seek a stay on the dec­la­ra­tions be­ing fi­nalised, pend­ing a de­ci­sion on whether to ap­peal or not. Mean­while Ire­land, as well as other EU states, is work­ing on an amended data re­ten­tion law that would not fall foul of the points raised by Dwyer.

Brexit cases

De­liv­ery of judg­ment is ex­pected in the new year in a High Court case where Fidelma Ker­ri­gan, of Be­nil­dus Av­enue, Ballyshan­non, Co Done­gal, is su­ing a cou­ple who were for­merly her friends, claim­ing that ¤ 280,000 she gave them was a loan and not a gift, as they main­tain.

Other cases to come be­fore the courts in 2019 are the Supreme Court ap­peal over the pro­posed Ap­ple data cen­tre in Athenry – the court is to sit in Gal­way to hear the ap­peal – more cases aris­ing out of the cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing process, and pro­ceed­ings to do with the Eu­ro­pean Ar­rest War­rant scheme as it ap­plies to Poland and the UK.

And of course if the UK does crash out of the EU, then it is quite pos­si­ble that a spike of com­mer­cial law dis­putes will end up in the courts. It may also tran­spire that in­ter­na­tional com­mer­cial dis­putes that for­merly would have been thrashed out in Lon­don, will shift to Dublin so as to be in­side the EU, thereby pro­vid­ing a boost to the cap­i­tal’s al­ready busy le­gal sec­tor.

The trial of two youths charged with the mur­der of 14-year-old Anas­ta­sia Kr­ie­gal is likely to one of the most high-pro­file cases Denis O’Brien

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