Sean Gallagher’s damages claim against RTE over ’Tweetgate’ almost ready for hearing

By Ann O'Loughlin

Businessman Sean Gallagher’s High Court case against RTE over the "Tweetgate" incident during the presidential election campaign is almost ready for hearing following resolution of disclosure of documents issues, a judge has been told.

Mr Gallagher seeks a declaration that the October 2011 RTE Frontline debate programme, involving the election candidates, was deliberately and unfairly edited, presented and directed, by RTE in order to damage his electoral prospects.

His claim includes a claim for exemplary damages arising from comments allegedly made by broadcaster Pat Kenny in relation to a tweet read out during the show.

RTE denies the claims and also pleads Mr Gallagher damaged his election prospects because of the manner in which he responded to particular assertions.

RTE brought a dismissal application because it claimed Mr Gallagher had failed to comply with his discovery obligations. During the hearing, it asked that an independent expert be appointed to oversee the discovery process.

Last April, Mr Justice David Keane ordered that an an independent expert on electronic discovery be appointed to conduct a comprehensive review of the discovery to be made by Mr Gallagher. The expert would then provide a written report to the parties, the judge said.

When the case returned before the judge today Jim O’Callaghan SC, for Mr Gallagher said he was pleased to say there had been very considerable progress. The independent expert’s report had been provided and his side had sworn affidavits of discovery which RTE needed some time to consider.

Counsel said there were one or two matter which needed to be dealt with and after that the case could proceed to trial.

Mr Justice Keane agreed to adjourn the case to next month to allow RTE consider the affidavits of discovery.

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