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Court rules Sunday World journalist does not have to testify in US case

The case before the High Court, partly concerning mind guru Tony Quinn, raised key issues about journalists and their protection of sources.

Image: NS Newsflash via Flickr/Creative Commons

THE HIGH COURT has ruled that the Sunday World journalist Nicola Tallant does not have to give testimony in Ireland that would be used in a court action in the United States.

In a case that was said to raise key issues about journalists and their protection of sources, High Court judge Gerard Hogan said that neither Tallant nor Mike Garde, director of Dialogue Ireland, must give evidence that will be used in a Colorado case involving mind guru Tony Quinn.

Tallant has written extensively about the mind control techniques that Quinn specialises in as has Gerde who is the head of a charity which helps victims of cults.

Jean Cornec, the former director of International Natural Energy (INE) – a company in which Quinn is a shareholder – has sued the company, its chairwoman, its directors and affiliates claiming he has not been paid the full $15m he is owed for his shares.

The claims are denied and in a counter claim the defendants allege that Cornec breached their contract of sale by engaging in, amongst other things, a campaign designed to damage the reputation of INE directors including Quinn.

The defendants in the case had secured court orders in Colorado requesting that the High Court here in Ireland rule that Tallant and Garde give evidence as witnesses in the case.

Counsel for Tallant argued that the evidence that was being sought from her was not relevant to the case and was instead for the purposes of a separate defamation suit being brought by Quinn over articles that she has written about him for the Sunday World.

Justice Hogan said in his ruling released today that he had not been convinced by the evidence that he had heard that it was necessary for Tallant to give evidence.

He said that any evidence that Tallant would give would not be said to be “essential”  and would be “confirmatory” of evidence already available. He said that the nature of the case in Colorado involved commercial proceedings making a public interest disclosure not as compelling.

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Hugh O'Connell

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