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Judge wants LPP issues between ODCE, FAI and John Delaney completed by end of legal year

The comments were made by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds when the matter came before her today.

File photo - John Delaney
File photo - John Delaney
Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

A HIGH COURT judge has said she wants the process of determining what documents seized by the ODCE from the FAI’s offices in February 2020 are covered by legal professional privilege (LPP) concluded by the end of the legal year.

The comments were made by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds when the matter came before her today.

Former FAI CEO John Delaney is claiming Legal Professional Privilege over various documents and emails seized by the ODCE.

The Judge made the remarks after she confirmed the receipt of a confidential report which makes recommendations on what documents and material should be deemed to be covered by legal professional privilege (LPP).

Any document deemed LPP cannot be used by the corporate watchdog as part of its criminal investigation into certain events at the FAI.

The report was compiled by two independent barristers Niall Nolan Bl and Patrick Mair Bl was delivered to Ms Justice Reynolds last Monday.

Today, Ms Justice Reynolds directed the report, which she said is bulkier than originally anticipated was delivered to her by the gardaí yesterday.

She said the report consisted of one volume of documents regarding the FAI and two volumes in relation to Delaney.

Expressing the court’s desire to finalise the process, which has been before the courts since February 2020 the Court directed that the various be furnished with the report.

The parties, she said, should now attempt to work out what documents they agree are covered by LPP in an attempt to “whittle down” the number of documents that remain in dispute, which the court will ultimately have to rule on.

Concerns were raised by Paul McGarry SC for Delaney over issues of confidentiality including who at the ODCE is to see the report.

The judge who said she was not prepared to make an order preventing the ODCE’s investigators from seeing the report, said the report was confidential.

There would be clear implications for any party found in breach of that confidentiality, the judge added.

The judge said that the matter has been before the court for over a year, and it was now time to “bring matters to a conclusion”.

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She expressed her hope that the hearings will have concluded before the end of the legal year in July.

The report arises out of the ODCE’s proceedings against the FAI, where the UK-based Delaney is a notice party.

The action was brought after some 280,000 files covering a 17-year period, were seized by the ODCE.

Claims of LPP have been made in respect of approximately 1,000 documents by the FAI and over 3,500 documents by Delaney.

The matter was adjourned to a date in June.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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