High Court to rule on INM challenge to ODCE application

Firm wants to block watchdog's application to appoint inspectors

Separately, INM has launched a legal action against its former chairman Leslie Buckley. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Separately, INM has launched a legal action against its former chairman Leslie Buckley. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

The High Court will rule on Friday on the challenge by Independent News & Media aimed at preventing the State’s corporate watchdog proceeding with his application for appointment of inspectors to the media group.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan is due to give judgment on INM’s judicial review proceedings at 10.45am.

The application by the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Ian Drennan, for appointment of inspectors, which is dependent on the outcome of the judicial review, is due to be mentioned minutes later, at 11am, before the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

If INM loses the judicial review, a date for the full hearing of the ODCE application is expected to be fixed later.

The ODCE initiated the application for inspectors over concerns about an alleged data breach at INM over some months from October 2014 and other issues arising from protected disclosures made by former INM chief executive Robert Pitt and INM chief financial officer Ryan Preston on dates in 2016 and 2017.

In its judicial review, on which judgment was reserved on May 10th, INM argued there was no basis for appointment of inspectors and contended the ODCE application was made in breach of its right to fair procedures.

Buckley lawsuit

Separately, INM has launched a legal action against its former chairman Leslie Buckley, months after he stepped down from his position. He has vowed to “robustly defend himself”.

The lawsuit, dated May 30th, is reported by the Irish Independent, which is published by INM, to be related to company claims that it suffered damage as a result of alleged actions by Mr Buckley, who stepped down in March.

INM in April wrote to 19 people whose data was allegedly breached to say that it was “unauthorised” and occurred “on the instruction of then-chairman” Mr Buckley.

Mr Buckley is at the centre of a State investigation into the alleged illegality at INM, and his relations, as chairman, with long-time business associate Denis O’Brien, who is INM’s largest individual shareholder.