Shatter appeal over Wallace data ruling set for November

Data Protection Commissioner found the then minister failed to uphold his statutory duties

Then minister for justice Alan Shatter and deputy Mick Wallace clash on  RTE’s Primetime. Photograph: Screengrab/RTE

Then minister for justice Alan Shatter and deputy Mick Wallace clash on RTE’s Primetime. Photograph: Screengrab/RTE

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 16:08

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter’s appeal against a decision of the Data Protection Commissioner that he breached data protection laws when he divulged information relating to deputy Mick Wallace on RTE’s Prime time, will be heard in November.

Judge Matthew Deery heard this morning (Thursday) in the Circuit Civil Court that Mr Wallace, who was present in court, had now been joined as a notice party to the proceedings and opposition papers would be sworn today.

The commissioner had found that the then Justice Minister Shatter had failed to uphold his statutory duties under the Data Protection Acts at the time of the RTE programme.

He found that Mr Shatter was a “data controller” in relation to the “personal data” when he disclosed on the programme that Mr Wallace had been cautioned by gardai for using a mobile phone while driving.

Mr Shatter had later apologised to Mr Wallace. The former minister resigned following adverse findings in the Guerin report into allegations of garda misconduct by whistle-blower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

In his legal documents Mr Shatter claims that the commissioner erred in fact and in law in reaching his conclusions.

When the case came before the court last June, Mr Wallace’s solicitor, Gareth Noble, said that the independent TD for Wexford was the person who made the complaint to the commissioner and wanted to be joined as a notice party to the proceedings.

The court had heard that the appeal by Mr Shatter concerned the validity of the commissioner’s decision and it was appropriate that Mr Wallace have an opportunity to have access to the appeal papers and to be allowed to make representations to the court in relation to all issues raised.