Former INBS director’s challenge to inquiry adjourned

John Stanley Purcell claims planned Central Bank inquiry breaches his rights

The Central Bank wants to investigate alleged contraventions at Irish Nationwide. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The Central Bank wants to investigate alleged contraventions at Irish Nationwide. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

A former Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) director’s High Court challenge to a Central Bank inquiry into alleged contraventions at the lending institution has been adjourned.

John Stanley Purcell claims the inquiry breaches his rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights on grounds including it is taking on a role reserved for the courts.

He was granted an adjournment of his main case to allow an expedited appeal to be heard next week related to a decision on a preliminary issue connected with his case. That issue relates to disclosure of documents which he says he needs for his case but which the Central Bank argued attracted litigation and public interest privilege.

In the High Court earlier this week, Mr Justice John Hedigan decided the Central Bank was entitled to claim privilege over the documents sought. It was well established such privilege extends to inquiries and not just litigation, the judge ruled.

Main action

Mr Purcell’s main action was due to begin next week and was listed to take six days.

His lawyers asked the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, on Friday to adjourn that hearing to allow them to appeal Judge Hedigan’s decision. 

John Rogers SC, for Mr Purcell,  said the documents sought were central to his case and that was why they had lodged an appeal.

Mr Justice Kelly was told Mr Purcell had obtained an expedited hearing date from the Court of Appeal and the appeal would be heard next week.

Mr Justice Kelly agreed to grant the adjournment of the main case given the appeal will be heard next week. The matter will come back before the High Court following the appeal.