High Court to hear O’Brien access demands

A dispute over the level of access being given to Denis O’Brien’s experts for their limited inspection of computers of a PR firm involved in an alleged conspiracy against the billionaire businessman will have to be heard by the High Court later this week.

Lawyers for Mr O’Brien returned to court yesterday to complain that Red Flag Consulting and a number of directors and employees were in breach of an order made last Friday allowing for “forensic imaging” of computer files to ascertain who is involved in the alleged conspiracy.

Mr O’Brien says an unidentified client of Red Flag is behind the conspiracy to defame and damage him commercially. He received material on a USB stick delivered anonymously to him containing a dossier of documents, many of which are allegedly defamatory.

He initially sought a civil search warrant allowing his side to go into Red Flag’s offices and inspect all its computers but this was refused by the High Court as being too draconian.

He instead got an order freezing any tampering with the documents on file and then last Friday got another order allowing for a forensic imaging process to be carried out jointly by IT experts for the sides whereby photographs are taken of files but they are not looked at.

The court has fixed December 8 for the hearing of injunction applications permitting the O’Brien side to inspect the material which has been photographed.

The claims are denied by Red Flag and the other defendants, including executives Gavin O’Reilly, a former CEO of Independent News & Media and former senior executive with INM, Karl Brophy, who is Red Flag’s CEO.

Mr Justice Colm Mac Eochaidh fixed Friday for the hearing of the latest dispute after he refused an application from Martin Hayden SC, for Mr O’Brien, for orders requiring the company to comply fully with last week’s High Court order. The application was opposed by Michael Collins SC, for Red Flag, who said they were in full compliance.


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