George Redmond wins his Supreme Court appeal

Former assistant Dublin city and county manager can continue with action to overturn corruption findings made against him by the planning tribunal

Former assistant Dublin city and county manager George Redmond has won his Supreme Court appeal aimed at allowing him continue with his action aimed at overturning findings of corruption made against him by the planning tribunal.  File photograph:  Collins Courts

Former assistant Dublin city and county manager George Redmond has won his Supreme Court appeal aimed at allowing him continue with his action aimed at overturning findings of corruption made against him by the planning tribunal. File photograph: Collins Courts

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 16:45

Former assistant Dublin city and county manager George Redmond has won his Supreme Court appeal aimed at allowing him continue with his action aimed at overturning findings of corruption made against him by the planning tribunal.

The development came after the tribunal said today it was no longer opposing the appeal.

Mr Redmond, who was in court, had appealed against a 2012 High Court order granting the tribunal’s bid to halt his action challenging the findings of corruption made in the tribunal’s third interim report of 2004.

That action was initiated in 2005 and the High Court accepted the tribunal’s arguments it was prejudiced due to inordinate and inexcusable delay in advancing it.

The tribunal cross-appealed other aspects of that High Court decision allowing Mr Redmond continue with his challenge to the tribunal’s finding he hindered and obstructed it and consequently was not entitled to costs before the tribunal.

The developments today came after exchanges between Patricia Dillon SC, for the tribunal, and the five judge Supreme Court on issues arising from an April 2010 Supreme Court finding in proceedings taken against the tribunal by Joseph Murphy Structural Engineers (JMSE).

In the JMSE case, the Supreme Court found, and the tribunal conceded, that important material described by one of the judges as “potentially explosive” going to the credibility of the tribunal’s key prosecution witness, the late James Gogarty, was wrongly withheld by the tribunal.

The material included allegations made by Mr Gogarty, who died in 2005, against a politician and a law officer, it was stated yesterday.

In exchanges today with Mr Justice Murray, who said he considered it “extraordinary” the tribunal lawyers appeared not instructed to say whether they had a defence to the main case, Ms Dillon said there was no challenge in the JMSE case to the substantive findings of the tribunal, the JMSE challenge was over costs and that was different from Mr Redmond’s case.

After various exchanges, the court asked Ms Dillon to take instructions whether, in light of the tribunal having conceded in the JMSE case the material should not have been withheld, it proposed to defend Mr Redmond’s main action.

When the appeal resumed, Ms Dillon said she was instructed to say the tribunal was not opposing Mr Redmond’s appeal and would pay his costs in the High and Supreme Courts in that regard.

The tribunal was also withdrawing own cross-appeal, counsel added.

Hugh Hartnett SC, for Mr Redmond, said: “I can’t disagree with any of that.”

The Chief Justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, noting the main case dates back some years, said it should be got on soon.

Mr Redmond’s civil case was initiated in 2005 as a result of the tribunal’s finding in its third interim report of 2004 Mr Redmond received a corrupt payment in relation to planning matters and had also obstructed its work.

Separately, Mr Redmond was convicted of corruption in 2003 and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment following a majority jury verdict. That conviction was overturned on appeal as unsafe and he was released after six months.

He was retried in 2008 on two separate corruption charges but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the first count and he was acquitted on the second.

Earlier, outlining the appeal, Mr Hartnett said Mr Redmond was in his late seventies when the tribunal began, is now 90 and these matters had proved very oppressive for him. He should not be penalised over delays resulting from the tribunal’s failure to disclose “extraordinarily significant” material highly relevant to the cross-examination of Mr Gogarty.

The delay also arose because Mr Redmond had no funds to allow him be represented at the tribunal by counsel, except for short periods, and his then solicitor’s right to cross-examine was curtailed by a guillotine operated by the tribunal, Mr Hartnett said.

The tribunal seemed to want the findings of its third interim report to stand when those findings were made on the basis of “grotesquely unfair” procedures and in breach of Mr Redmond’s constitutional right to his good name, counsel added.