Supreme Court may rule on Denis O'Brien and Angela Kerins appeals before Christmas

Supreme Court may rule on Denis O'Brien and Angela Kerins appeals before Christmas
Denis O'Brien

Ann O'Loughlin

A judgment is expected from the Supreme Court before Christmas on separate appeals by businessman Denis O'Brien and former Rehab CEO Angela Kerins arising from statements by politicians in the Dail and, in Ms Kerins' case, at the Dail Public Accounts Committee.

Both appeals raise similar important issues concerning the constitutional separation of powers and the courts’ ability to intervene in decisions and proceedings of the Houses and Committees of the Oireachtas.

They were among 18 appeals listed in the Supreme Court today under legislation which requires the president of any court to list proceedings where judgment is not delivered within two months from the date judgment was reserved.

The Chief Justice, Mr Justice Frank Clarke, said it seemed to him there was a case for suggesting the two month period was no longer realistic in the context of the altered Supreme Court jurisdiction following the establishment in 2013 of the Court of Appeal.

Except for a small number of cases, the cases now being heard by the Supreme Court "are, by definition, almost always of general public importance and will inevitably be complex", he said.

In respect of collegiate courts, it is not only necessary that a judge writes and finalise their own judgment but also that their colleagues are afforded a reasonable opportunity to consider the judgment, perhaps write a concurring or dissenting judgment, but in any event to make observations in respect of the text of what may turn out to be the majority judgment of the court, he said, "That takes time."

Because judgments since the constitutional amendment altering the Supreme Court's jurisdiction are of general importance and can affect a significant number of other cases, the precise reasoning adopted by the court, and the language in which that reasoning is expressed, is of particular importance and needs to be approached with special care and requires the involvement and contribution of all of the judges which heard that case, he added.

Inevitably, doing that job properly takes time.

He said "significant progress" has been made in bringing the 18 listed appeals towards a point where judgment can be delivered and he was confident most would be the subject of a judgment before the end of this law term on December 21.

Where judgment is not delivered in any of the cases by December 21, or where no definite date for delivery of judgment has been set, they would be further listed that day, he said.

The Chief Justice added he intends to comply strictly with the legislation requiring, where judgment is not delivered in any case within a two month period of it being reserved, those cases would be listed before the court.

Denis O'Brien's appeal, heard last April, is over the High Court's dismissal of his action against the Dail and State over statements made by two TDs in the Dail about his banking affairs and its order requiring him to pay the estimated €1m legal costs of his failed High Court action.

His proceedings arose from statements made on separate dates in summer 2015 by Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty after Mr O'Brien got court injunctions restraining RTE publicising that information.

Angela Kerins' appeal, heard in February, was over the rejection of her challenge over her treatment at two Dail Public Accounts Committee hearings into payments to Rehab.

The PAC’s appeal against the High Court’s decision directing it to pay Ms Kerins’ estimated €700,000 costs of the case there, plus the State’s appeal over an order requiring it to pay its own costs, will be dealt with after the Supreme Court has given judgment.

More on this topic

Judge refuses Wexford man’s request seeking return of vehicle by CabJudge refuses Wexford man’s request seeking return of vehicle by Cab

Alcoholic father gets suspended sentence for leaving daughters in guesthouse to go drinking and hitting one of themAlcoholic father gets suspended sentence for leaving daughters in guesthouse to go drinking and hitting one of them

Council tells Johnny Ronan to keep noise down at D4 venue described as 'pop-up party venue'Council tells Johnny Ronan to keep noise down at D4 venue described as 'pop-up party venue'

Luas passenger injured when taxi collided with tram awarded €80kLuas passenger injured when taxi collided with tram awarded €80k


More in this Section

Varadkar continues to rule out working with Sinn FéinVaradkar continues to rule out working with Sinn Féin

Pollution down 20% following ban on traffic outside Dublin schoolPollution down 20% following ban on traffic outside Dublin school

'Cameron you were my north, my south, my east and west' - Student laid to rest in West Cork'Cameron you were my north, my south, my east and west' - Student laid to rest in West Cork

'Politics is hurling not soccer' - Varadkar insists FG will fight to recover in election'Politics is hurling not soccer' - Varadkar insists FG will fight to recover in election


Lifestyle

Orlagh Kelly owns The Reading Room bookshop on Main Street in Carrick-on-Shannon in Co Leitrim.We sell books: The Reading Room - ‘Small bookshops, curated by people who care, make a difference’

As Stockton’s Wing release a retrospective album, Mike Hanrahan tells Donal O’Keeffe about getting back on the road, and his love of cookingStill a beautiful affair: Mike Hanrahan talks about getting back on the road with Stockton's Wing

An ongoing cull is resulting in a major reduction in the deer population in one of the country’s most visited natural attractions.Donal Hickey: Deer birth patterns evolving

A Courtmacsherry neighbour, Kathy Gannon tells me that when the tide is out, the vast acres of clean, grey mud of the bay reflect the sun in splendour in the clear, sharp air.Damien Enright: ‘How enchanting for humanity that we have birds’

More From The Irish Examiner