Army officer's case over report resolved after High Court proceedings withdrawn

A High Court action by a senior army officer over the State’s refusal to provide him with an independent report into his allegations of corruption and misconduct within the military has been resolved, and the case withdrawn.

The action was brought by the Defence Forces Head of Legal Services Colonel Jerry Lane against the Minister for Defence, Ireland and the Attorney General.

The State parties represented by Margaret Nerney SC and Ronan Kennedy Bl denied any wrongdoing and argued Colonel Lane was not entitled to any of the reliefs sought.

Following talks between the parties today, Col Lane's counsel Roughan Banim SC told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that the case had been "settled."

Counsel said his client was "no longer seeking the independent report", known as the Smyth report, and that the proceedings were being "withdrawn."

The case could be struck out, counsel added.

When the case commenced this week, the court heard the proceedings arose over concerns raised by Col Lane several years ago that preferential treatment was being afforded to another member of the Defence Forces to the detriment of other members.

Counsel said in 2010, his client attempted to raise the issue of the other officer's alleged preferential treatment through the chain of military command, but claimed that nothing was done.

Col Lane's concerns were that the other officer was selected for, but ultimately did not get, a senior position which Col Lane claimed the other person was ineligible for.

Col Lane, from Bandon, Co Cork, made a protected disclosure to members of Seanad Éireann regarding his concerns which were raised in the Seanad in 2011.

Arising out of the disclosure, he claims he was subjected to a range of penalties, including threats of dismissal and involuntary retirement from the Defence Forces, but those threats were subsequently set aside.

Arising out of his complaints, the Minister for Defence had in 2016 appointed Colm Smyth SC to conduct an independent review of the allegations.

Due to the issues raised by Col Lane, the Department of Defence decided it would not be placing any reliance on Mr Smyth’s report, that it would not be published and would be kept in a sealed file.

A fresh review was established into the allegations, to be conducted by Frank Callanan SC.

In his action, Col Lane sought to have sight of the first report because any findings or conclusions in that document could affect his reputation.

Col Lane claimed the refusal to give him the report breached his constitutional rights and fair procedures.

In judicial review proceedings, Col Lane sought an order quashing the refusal to provide him with a copy of the first report and directing he be provided with that.

He also sought damages and a declaration the respondents have acted unlawfully and in excess of jurisdiction by failing to provide him with a copy of the report.

The respondents had opposed the action and denied the claims.

More on this topic

18-year-old charged after loaded sub-machine gun found wrapped in tea towel in a bin

Supreme Court refuses Agriculture Minister's bid for review of €49k award to fishermen

Paedophile football coach Bob Higgins guilty of sex attacks against teenage boys

Grandmother sentenced to four months in jail after €700 worth of cannabis found in handbag

More in this Section

Charles’s visit to the North ‘a challenge to dissident republicans’

Update: Man dies after second Dublin shooting in less than 24 hours

Labour and the Greens to join protests by other groups against Donald Trump during Ireland trip

Family issue appeal at inquest of 'caring' man killed while walking dogs in forest


This is why Zandra Rhodes thinks it’s important to support young designers

Empty-nester Lorraine Kelly reveals a stylish makeover of her daughter Rosie’s bedroom

Sandal season is almost here: 5 footwear trends to be seen in this summer

From childhood bread baking to exploding seaweed, these are the Hairy Bikers’ food memories

More From The Irish Examiner