Journalist resisting orders in Tony Quinn case


A Sunday World journalist is resisting orders to give evidence as part of a multimillion dollar lawsuit in the United States involving lifestyle guru and businessman Tony Quinn.

Lawyers for Nicola Tallant are expected to invoke journalistic privilege when the matter comes before the High Court tomorrow. They are also expected to argue that the orders be set aside as Mr Quinn was never properly a director of the oil company at the centre of the lawsuit.

The orders made by the court on an ex-parte basis last July are also being resisted by Mike Garde, the director of Dialogue Ireland, which works with victims of cults.

Both Ms Tallant and Mr Garde have written extensively about Mr Quinn, who specialises in mind control techniques. They are the subject of a request from the district court in Denver, Colorado, to the Irish High Court to order them to be deposed as witnesses in a case in the US court.

It arises from the sale of shares in International Natural Energy (INE), an oil company to which Mr Quinn was appointed a director. Former director Jean Cornec has brought the action against the company, claiming he wasn’t paid for $15 million in shares he sold to a fellow director, Susan Morrice. The company claims he broke the contract of sale by engaging in a campaign of disparagement of the directors, including Mr Quinn.

As part of the proceedings, the defendants in the US claim Mr Garde and Ms Tallant have information in relation to the alleged campaign of disparagement. The case is being taken under a little-used provision in the 1856 Foreign Tribunals (Evidence) Act which allows for Irish witnesses in overseas cases to give evidence here before an appointed examiner.

At the deposition, the witnesses could be examined and cross-examined by lawyers representing the parties in the US action.

In the current proceedings, barrister William Abrahamson has been appointed examiner and will hear evidence on deposition in October if Mr Justice Gerard Hogan confirms his earlier orders after tomorrows hearings.

Ironically, Mr Quinn was the subject of a similar order by the court last January, which required him to give a deposition in Ireland as part of the Denver proceedings.Since these proceedings started, a court in the British Virgin Islands that heard a separate case taken by INE director Sheila McCaffrey has ruled that Mr Quinn was never validly a director of the company.

Ms McCaffrey, who had been suspended from the board, has since been reinstated. A meeting of shareholders in the oil company is expected to take place next month.