Denis O’Brien seeking ‘leapfrog’ appeal to Supreme Court

Case was brought against clerk of Dáil, Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges, and State

While Denis O’Brien has lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal, he is also applying to the Supreme Court for permission to bring an appeal directly to that court. Photograph; Dara Mac Donaill

While Denis O’Brien has lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal, he is also applying to the Supreme Court for permission to bring an appeal directly to that court. Photograph; Dara Mac Donaill

 

Denis O’Brien is seeking a “leapfrog” appeal directly to the Supreme Court over the rejection of his case against the Dáil and State concerning statements made in the Dáil about his banking affairs.

While the businessman’s lawyers have lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal against the High Court dismissal of his case, they are also applying to the Supreme Court for permission to bring an appeal directly to that court.

An appeal to the Supreme Court may only be brought if that court considers a case raises issues of general public importance meriting such an appeal. Alternatively, it may permit an appeal to be brought if it considers that is necessary in the interests of justice.

If the court agrees to hear an appeal, it will publish a written determination outlining the reasons why, and the issues to be decided, and the matter will then be moved from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr O’Brien’s seven-day case was brought against the clerk of the Dáil, the Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges, and the State.

It arose from statements made on separate dates in summer 2015 by Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty after Mr O’Brien got court injunctions restraining RTÉ publicising that information.

Dismissing the case last March, Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh held that what Mr O’Brien sought was prohibited by the separation of powers under the Constitution and would have a “chilling effect” on parliamentary speech into the future.

She upheld the core defence argument that Article 15 of the Constitution immunises Dáil “utterances” from suit or scrutiny by courts or tribunals.

The judge also later awarded the estimated €1 million costs of action against Mr O’Brien.