Judgments: key cases in brief

A forensic sample taken before the attendance of a legal adviser did not render a trial unfair or specimens inadmissible. DPP vs Parker IEHC 652 (High Court, Donnelly J, December 17th, 2014) The High Court, by way of a consultative case relating to a drink-driving offence, finds that, 1), the mere fact that the accused's solicitor was not contacted before the making of the request for or provision of a sample did not render the subsequent evidence inadmissible or otherwise justify the dismissal of the prosecution, and 2), the taking of a photograph of the accused, by consent, while he was detained does not make the detention of the accused unlawful or unconstitutional such as to render the evidence acquired thereafter inadmissible.

– Ciarán Joyce BL

Orders are made in aid of an execution of judgment debt against a religious trust. McCann vs Victory Christian Fellowship IEHC 655 (High Court, Donnelly J, December 17th, 2014) The High Court: a) grants orders in aid of execution of judgment debt against a religious trust, including disclosure of assets, income and liabilities and discovery of documents concerning the income of the trust and the trustees; and b) grants disclosure of information concerning how the trust maintained court proceedings, where it might have been funded by third parties, so that an order for costs might later be sought against those third-party funders.

– Mark Tottenham BL An employee who defrauded their employer of substantial sum of money has their appeal against a five-year sentence dismissed. DPP vs Ngkupumu, IECA 33 (Court of Appeal, Birmingham J, December 10th, 2014) The Court of Appeal dismisses an appeal against the severity of a five-year prison sentence imposed for offences involving the defrauding of an employer by an employee of more than €300,000, on the basis that no error in principle had been identified on the part of the sentencing judge.


– Ciarán Joyce

An alleged breach of an undertaking by a solicitor was a matter for a plenary hearing. ACC Loan Management Ltd vs Gillespie IEHC 654 (High Court, Donnelly J, December 12th, 2014) The High Court refuses to grant summary judgment in an action brought by a bank against a solicitor arising from alleged breach of undertaking in relation to purchase of property, on grounds that complex issues of law and fact arose that should be determined by plenary hearing.

– Mark Tottenham

The former directors of a car dealership held are personally liable for creditor's losses In Re Appleyard Motors Ltd; Toomey Leasing Group Ltd vs Sedgwick IEHC 28 (High Court, Binchy J, January 21st, 2015) The High Court grants a declaration that two former directors of a car dealership in liquidation were personally liable in the amount of €48,250 to a former creditor who had bought three vehicles in the weeks leading up to the company's liquidation, on the grounds that the directors had been irresponsible and reckless in failing to take professional advice or other measures to protect creditors or to wind up the company having regard to the financial information available at the material time.

– Ian Fitzharris BL

An former employee's claim for workplace bullying is dismissed for duplication. Culkin vs Sligo County Council IEHC 46 (High Court, Kearns P, February 6th, 2015) The High Court dismisses a personal injuries action concerning alleged bullying in the workplace, brought by a former employee of a local authority, on the grounds that the damage claimed had arisen from alleged mistreatment that had already been raised in proceedings before the Equality Tribunal.

– Conor O’Higgins BL

The bonus entitlements of a former chief executive of a State body could not be retrospectively confiscated. Gunning vs Coillte Teoranta (2015) IEHC 44 (High Court, Kearns P, February 6th, 2015) The High Court grants a judgment to a former chief executive officer of the State forestry body in the sum of €299,001, a performance-related bonus that had accrued before 2013 when a letter was circulated by the Minister for Agriculture purporting to cancel the bonus, on the grounds that the relevant legislation did not entitle the Minister to retrospectively deprive the officer of his remuneration entitlements.

– Conor O’Higgins

The Irish courts had jurisdiction to determine disputes concerning the use of an Irish airline's website by travel companies. Ryanair Ltd vs Billigfluege De GmbH/Ticket Point Reiseburo GmbH IESC 15 (Supreme Court, Charleton J, February 19th, 2015) Supreme Court dismisses appeals from High Court, and affirms rulings that the Irish courts had jurisdiction to determine three separate but related actions concerned with "screen scraping" by online travel companies of the website of an Irish airline.

– Damian Byrne BL

The full text of each judgment can be found on courts.ie. These reports are provided by Stare Decisis Hibernia: staredecisishibernia.com