Man entitled to names of others allegedly abused by priest, High Court rules

A man suing a priest and a religious order over alleged sexual abuse when he was a child is entitled to information about others who made similar allegations, the High Court has ruled.

The man is suing for damages over the alleged abuse by the priest who was his schoolteacher and a member of an order of priests and brothers whose members worked in education.

As part of the pre-trial process, he sought and obtained discovery of documents he said he needed to process his case. He got it, but certain details were blacked out and he then sought orders from the court that this information also be provided.

The information included the names of people who have made complaints to gardaí of personally experiencing or witnessing abuse by the priest or had brought their own civil actions over alleged abuse.

He also sought the names of people who the priest had admitted to his superiors he abused and names of people who complained to the religious order itself.

Mr Justice Max Barrett said the information sought appeared to the court to be relevant to this man's case and discovery of this information was clearly necessary.

The judge said there were other names which surfaced in the context of claims made by other people alleged to have been abused but who never came forward to make a complaint for reasons best known to themselves.

He said these people "can be left to themselves without a risk of impairment of a fair hearing presenting".

However, this could be re-visited in the event that the information the court was ordering to be revealed did not yield much by way of co-operation from those involved, he said.

The judge was also satisfied there is no issue in the case in relation to the relevant data protection legislation.

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