Web Summit row may require further explanation on email deletion and recovery

Court hears of progress on discovery in case where shareholders claim they are being oppressed and one is being countersued over investment fund

A High Court judge has said further explanation may be required as to how documents related to the Web Summit dispute were deleted and later recovered.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald made the comment when he was updated about the latest progress in exchange of documents between the parties in the dispute as part of the pretrial discovery process.

Graiguearidda, a corporate entity of Web Summit co-founder David Kelly, who owns 12 per cent of the business, is suing Web Summit holding company Manders Terrace Ltd, its chief executive, Patrick Cosgrave and his entity, Proto Roto Ltd, claiming oppression of shareholders’ rights.

Daire Hickey, another minority shareholder in Web Summit and his commercial vehicle Lazvisax Ltd, are also suing Mr Cosgrave and Proto Roto over alleged oppression of his rights as a minority shareholder.


Manders Terrace and Mr Cosgrave are countersuing Mr Kelly claiming he was involved in secret efforts to set up an investment fund for his own personal gain by using the resources of the business.

The respondents deny the claims.

Frank Kennedy, for Graiguearidda and Mr Kelly, said on Wednesday that his side received a significant number of documents on Monday. They were not in a position yet to say how long it will take to review them. However, it was agreed with the other parties that the matter should be adjourned until June 12th.

The other issue to be dealt with is a supplemental affidavit from Mr Kelly in relation to deleted documents which were recovered. There are some 4 gigabytes of material and it has not yet been identified how long it will take to make the supplemental discovery but that matter should be put back to June 12th too, he said. He did not believe any time would be lost because of this.

Kelley Smith SC, for Mr Hickey and Lazvisax, said her client made discovery in full this week and received some discovery. Her side were “somewhat surprised”, however, to receive just under 30,000 documents out of the 14 million they were previously told existed.

Counsel agreed the prudent thing to do was to put the matter back to June 12th when it should be possible to tell the court how long it will take to do a complete review of the documents.

Bernard Dunleavy SC, for Manders Terrace, said his side had produced a substantial amount of discovery following an assessment and it was a good idea to put it in for review to the next date.

However, in relation to the supplemental discovery affidavit of Mr Kelly and the recovered material, there were a number of issues, including that there does not appear to be any explanation of what it was, when it happened and why it was deleted, Mr Dunleavy said. In reply, Mr Kennedy suggested the most practical way to deal with this was through correspondence.

Mr Justice McDonald said it may be that further explanation is required and it seemed appropriate to deal with it through correspondence. He agreed to put the matter back to June 12th.