Dublin Bus loses appeal over injury claim CCTV footage

Thu, Aug 9, 2012, 01:00

THE HIGH Court has upheld a decision by the Data Protection Commissioner requiring Dublin Bus to provide CCTV footage to a woman who has brought a personal injuries claim for an alleged fall on a bus.

Mr Justice John Hedigan, in dismissing Dublin Bus’s appeal on a point of law against the direction that they provide the footage, said the existence of legal proceedings between somebody seeking information and the data controller does not preclude the requester from making an access request under data protection legislation, nor did it justify the controller refusing the request.

The woman allegedly fell on a Dublin Bus in October 2008. She began personal injury proceedings arising out of the alleged fall in October 2009. After litigation had begun, Dublin Bus informed her lawyers of the CCTV footage’s existence and invited her lawyers to view the footage. After seeing this at Dublin Bus’s offices, her lawyers sought copies of any information including video records Dublin Bus held in respect of her. The request was refused by Dublin Bus on grounds including that such information was prepared in anticipation of potential litigation and was privileged.

That refusal was appealed to the commissioner. In its decision in January 2011 the commissioner ruled Dublin Bus was required to provide the woman with a copy of the requested footage.

That decision was upheld at Dublin Circuit Court by Judge Jacqueline Linnane in July 2011, but was appealed to the High Court by Dublin Bus on a point of law.

Dublin Bus asked the High Court to determine whether the existence of legal action between a person seeking data and the party they are seeking the information from precludes that person from making a request for information under data protection legislation.

The commissioner opposed the appeal and argued its own and Judge Linnane’s original decision should stand. In his judgment yesterday the judge dismissed Dublin Bus’s appeal as he found it had “not raised a point of law giving rise to grounds for overturning Judge Linnane’s decision”.