`Bias, prejudice' in mobile appeal


A barrister acting for the Director of Telecommunications Regulation has alleged before the Supreme Court that there were various instances of "bias and prejudice" on the part of some witnesses who gave evidence during the course of a successful legal challenge to the director's decision awarding the third national mobile telephone licence to Meteor Communications.

Mr Donal O'Donnell SC, for the director, Ms Etain Doyle, said yesterday that instances of bias by some witnesses had been uncovered from analysis of the transcript of the 50-day High Court hearing of the challenge taken by the British telecommunications company, Orange Communications Limited, to the award of the licence.

He was continuing his opening submissions on the second day of the appeal by the director and Meteor against the quashing by the High Court last year of the October 1998 decision to award the mobile phone licence to Meteor.

In the High Court, Ms Justice Macken found Ms Doyle's decision awarding the licence to Meteor was objectively biased and unreasonable, and she also ruled that the director's failure to give Orange (the only other applicant for the licence) reasons for its defeat was wrong in law. She returned the matter to the director for reconsideration.

Yesterday, Mr O'Donnell said a number of errors had found their way into the judgment of Ms Justice Macken and these subverted the final result.