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Dublin: 19 °C Tuesday 23 July, 2019
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Dentists withdraw allegations of misconduct against each other after row over CCTV camera

The men had previously worked well together but the relationship became “toxic”, a court heard.

File photo of a woman's teeth being examined by a dentist.
File photo of a woman's teeth being examined by a dentist.
Image: Shutterstock/bezikus

A HIGH COURT dispute between two dentists who operate their separate practices out of the same premises has been resolved after both parties withdrew all allegations of improper conduct against each other.

Dr Michael Maguire and Dr James Hiney had for many years worked well alongside each other from a building they co-own at Market Point, Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

However, the court heard the relationship became “toxic” and, in proceedings launched last June, Maguire claimed his staff were put under surveillance by a secret camera installed by Hiney in a hole in the ceiling of the shared premises .

Hiney claimed the camera was put in for security reasons and denied it was used to spy on Maguire or his staff, as alleged.

Maguire did not accept that explanation and sought various injunctions from the High Court against Hiney, including one preventing the defendant from monitoring and carrying out surveillance of his employees.

The case was adjourned on more than one occasion but returned before the court today when Stephen Byrne Bl, presenting Maguire, said that following “a second mediation” between the parties that ended late last night the proceedings had been settled and could be struck out.

As part of the settlement, counsel read a statement to the court.

It said: “In the course of the division of the two dentists’ practices a number of difficulties and disagreements arose between the parties.

These, unfortunately, resulted in various allegations and counter-allegations being made about the conduct of the dentists and their respective employees, including in the proceedings that came before the court.

“These proceedings have compromised in terms acceptable to the two dentists.”

Withdrawing all allegations 

Counsel said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the dentists unconditionally withdraw all and any allegations of improper conduct of any description against each other made during this difficult period.”

“Dr Maguire now acknowledges that in installing CCTV cameras in the premises that Dr Hiney did not intend to survey Dr Maguire or his patients.

“Dr Maguire understands that Dr Hiney installed the cameras following consultation with An Garda Síochána.”

“Dr Maguire now further acknowledges that any contact by Dr Hiney of Dr Maguire’s patients was not for the purposes of solicitation.”

“Both Dr Maguire and Dr Hiney are now pleased that the proceedings have been resolved” counsel concluded.

No other details of the settlement agreement were revealed in open court.

Welcoming the resolution Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds agreed to strike out the case.

In his action, Dr Maguire claimed there had been a host of issues between the dentists, ranging from petty complaints to serious allegations of criminal behaviour between the two.

He claimed Mr Hiney made allegations against him, including assault, defamation, harassment, vandalism, the withholding of information from insurers about the building they share.

Mr Maguire rejected all the allegations against him.

Dr Maguire had also claimed in his action that Dr Hiney had engaged in a marketing campaign, including sending text messages, in an effort to solicit his patients

Dr Maguire claimed that his patient’s details were obtained from a backup computer server that contained records which the defendant removed from the shared premises and has not returned and that Mr Hiney had engaged people to commence works on the exterior of the premises.

He had also sought orders requiring Dr Hiney to return all data allegedly removed to Dr Maguire, an order that the alleged solicitation of his patients ceases, and that any proposed construction works at the premises be halted.

All of the allegations were denied by Dr Hiney, who said he never intended to have any construction works carried out on the shared premises as long as Mr Maguire’s business was operating out of the building.

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About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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