Access to personal devices disputed in O’Brien case

A dispute has erupted over whether the personal computers and devices, including mobile phones, of various executives and employees of the Red Flag Consulting firm must be submitted for “forensic imaging” by experts for businessman Denis O’Brien.

Mr Justice Colm MacEochaidh has been asked to resolve that dispute and will hear the case on Monday.

Michael Cush, for Mr O’Brien, told the judge yesterday a large amount of agreement has been reached about the extent of computer material the Red Flag firm must provide for forensic imaging as part of preparations for Mr O’Brien’s action against the firm alleging conspiracy and defamation.

It had, however, also emerged from an email received yesterday there is one significant issue of disagreement between the Red Flag firm and Mr O’Brien’s side, counsel told the High Court.

That related to whether the personal computers and devices of the defendants, as well as their work devices, must be provided for forensic imaging. The sides were unable to resolve that and wanted the court to do so.

Michael Collins, for the Red Flag side, also outlined the sides differed in relation to their understanding of what was meant by the order providing for forensic imaging of devices.

Red Flag had earlier denied claims by Mr O’Brien it had not fully honoured the terms of the order providing for the forensic imaging process, being carried out by digital forensic experts for both sides.

Mr O’Brien wants orders permitting him inspect documents on the firm’s computers and devices and, prior to the court deciding if he is entitled to those inspection orders, the material at issue is to be photographed and stored. That imaging process is being done under an order, granted earlier this month, providing for preservation of the material pending determination whether there is a right to inspect it. The inspection application will be heard on December 8.

Mr O’Brien’s action is against Red Flag and some of its directors and employees, including Red Flag CEO Karl Brophy, chairman Seamus Conboy, and a non-executive director, Gavin O’Reilly.

Red Flag denies defamation, conspiracy or any wrongdoing.


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