Copies made by Owen Felix O’Neill of the letters, which were handed into the Commercial Court earlier this month, were given back yesterday to solicitors for Sheppard’s auctioneers for return to the Vincentian Order at All Hallows College in Dublin.
Mr O’Neill, who denied taking any unauthorised actions concerning the letters, also consented to various permanent injunctions being made against him.
In those circumstances and given the cancellation of a planned auction of the letters on June 10, Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed to an application by Maurice Collins, counsel for Sheppard’s, to strike out proceedings initiated earlier this month against Mr O’Neill.
MJ Fine Art Ltd, trading as Sheppard’s Irish Auction House, of Durrow, Co Laois, had brought the case against Mr O’Neill, of Cahir, Co Tipperary. It concerned correspondence between Jackie Kennedy and Fr Joseph Leonard, a Vincentian priest who lived in All Hallows College in Drumcondra, Dublin, extending from 1950 to 1964.
Since the case began, solicitors acting for Caroline Kennedy, the sole surviving child of Jackie Kennedy, and Edwin Schlossberg as trustee as the estate of her deceased son, John Kennedy Jr had written on May 21 to Sheppard’s asserting their clients were the owner of the copyright of the letters and seeking undertakings from Sheppard’s, including that, at the end of the legal proceedings, the copies of the letters would be given to the Kennedy solicitors, Philip Sheppard said.
Solicitors for Sheppard’s had indicated the firm would do nothing to infringe copyright and, should All Hallows so request, they would be happy to give the copies to the Kennedy solicitors, he said.
Mr Justice Kelly said he would make permanent the orders restraining Mr O’Neill passing on any copies of extracts of the letters or holding himself out as their owner or seller.