Lifting of McAnaspie in camera rule in public interest, court told

A COURT has heard that a lifting of the in camera rule in the case of Daniel McAnaspie, the teenager killed earlier this year, would be in the public interest.

Media organisations have applied to report on matters to be heard in court relating to a separate application by the McAnaspie family seeking to gain access to documents from the Guardian Ad Litem, Daniel’s legal representative in other court matters.

The 17-year-old was killed earlier this year, and had been in the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE) at the time of his death.

The Dublin District Court heard arguments for and against a lifting of the in camera rule, relating to the separate, substantive application.

The hearing, before Judge Conal Gibbons, featured arguments from the HSE regarding any lifting of the in camera rule.

Felix McEnroy SC, for the HSE, said it was not for the court to be editing newspapers and care needed to be taken over the matter.

Cian Ferriter, BL, for the Irish Times, said there was “undoubted public interest” in that the next of kin of Daniel McAnaspie are applying to court for the in camera rule to be lifted.

“It is not in the public interest for the public to be in the dark,” he said, adding that it was in the public interest to hear all of the arguments of all of the parties.

He said he accepted there was a balancing interest, but he said this came down in favour of disclosure as the media was here as a watchdog and would shine a light on the issues, leaving the public to make up their own minds.

Ray Ryan BL for the Irish Examiner, the Irish Independent and RTÉ, said any risk of undue disclosure, even theoretical, of matters unrelated to the applications at hand, could be assuaged.

The McAnaspie family was represented in court by John Rogers SC, while Emer Woodfull BL for the Guardian Ad Litem said she endorsed the media’s application, claiming the case was one of “crucial and exceptional importance” and was important with regard to public confidence.

A number of separate investigations are being carried out into Daniel McAnaspie’s death, including a Garda investigation.

Judge Gibbons said the issue would be listed for mention next week and a date provided for when he would rule on the media’s application. The court heard it could be October before the substantive application by the McAnaspies is heard.


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