Trade union issue ‘nothing to do’ with Ryanair’s defamation case, court told

High Court judge tells jury to focus on whether 2013 email defamed the airline

Mr Justice Barton said members of the jury heard Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary say the company did not recognise trade unions.

Mr Justice Barton said members of the jury heard Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary say the company did not recognise trade unions.

 

Ryanair’s recognition of trade unions for the first time has “nothing to do” with the airline’s defamation action against three pilots, a High Court judge has said in his charge to the jury hearing the case.

The jury will begin considering its verdict on Thursday.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton on Wednesday gave directions to the jury of 10 men and two women on the 24th day of a trial which was scheduled to last just over a week when it started last month and is now in its seventh week.

The jury has to consider whether a 2013 email from three members of the Ryanair Pilot Group(RPG) – Evert Van Zwol, John Goss and Ted Murphy – defamed the airline by saying it had misled the market and facilitated insider trading, among other things.

The three deny the email, entitled “pilot update: what the markets are saying about Ryanair”, was defamatory or meant what the airline said it means.

Mr Justice Barton said members of the jury heard Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary say the company did not recognise trade unions but had since learned that this was to change and could be a source of comfort to the three defendants.

“But is has absolutely nothing to do with this case and must not form any part of this case. Your deliberations concern a pilot update published on September 12th 2013”, he said.