Buckley to be robust & # 39; to defend against INM accusations

Former President of Independent News & Media Leslie Buckley said he would welcome the opportunity to defend after the High Court decision yesterday to agree to appoint inspectors to the company following an application from the Office Director or Corporate Enforcement. .

In a statement, Mr Buckley said that he took note of the decision of the Supreme President, Mr Peter Kelly, to appoint inspectors to INM, and added: "I welcome the opportunity to defend my good name through the inspection process. .

"As mentioned earlier, I intend to defend myself vigorously against any allegation and I keep my position."

Yesterday, Supreme Court Judge, Mr. Justice Peter Kelly, said the appointment was "well justified" and "not disproportionate."

However, he agreed not to place a final order until tomorrow morning (Thursday) to enable INM to consider his judgment.

The Director of Corporate Enforcement had argued that the INM's business was being done illegally and that it wanted to conduct a proper investigation.

Her lawyers who were submitted there were at least six circumstances under the legislation that justified the appointment of inspectors. Mr Justice Kelly agreed.

He said that the issue of public interest was one to which he had to give a lot of weight in this case.

INM held a dominant position in the media in Ireland and it was in the general interest to find out what had happened.

He said that this applies in particular to the removal of data from INM and the interrogation of the data by third parties.

He said that this was directed by INM's former chairman, Leslie Buckley, and paid for by a company owned by Denis O & # 39; Brien.

Mr. Buckley had informed the board that it had been done in connection with a cost-saving exercise with respect to a contract for legal services.

Among those whose data were interrogated were journalists, former directors of INM, as well as two senior counselors who acted for the Moriarty Tribunal, which investigated allegations regarding the granting of the second mobile phone license to the company of O & # 39; Brien, Esat .

The judge said it was difficult to see what the interrogation of information about at least some of those people had to do with the cost reduction exercise.

He said that their rights and rights may have been violated in a most serious way.

The judge said that a great mystery still encompassed a number of issues that the ODCE had investigated.

It was highly desirable, he said, that the director could reach the bottom of them.

He said he was skeptical that the appointment of inspectors would have the devastating consequences for the company, as proposed by INM.

He said it was difficult to see how much reputational damage the company could suffer, given the amount of information already in the public domain.

The judge said that the activities contracted by the former chairman, Leslie Buckley, were carried out in his capacity as chairman and not as an individual.

He said that an investigation by the Data Protection Commission, as well as a possible investigation by the Central Bank, did not stand in the way of the appointment of inspectors.

The judge said that the appointment of inspectors was a serious matter and he had said earlier that a sledgehammer should not be used to crack a nut, but he said that what was revealed to him in the evidence was "no nut" used to be.

The appointment of inspectors was well justified and not disproportionate. He said it was quite possible that there was a full explanation for all the director's concerns, but if not, it was claimed that it was "very serious."

The judge agreed to postpone the finalization of his order for two days to allow INM to consider the judgment. He will sit down again on Thursday, when he will also consider the issue of costs.

He said he would appoint Senior Counsel Sean Gillane and British corporate lawyer Richard Fleck as inspectors and advise them to submit their first interim report by 12 April next year.

In a statement afterwards, INM said: "The board will consider the conditions of today's decision and the action that the company could take in the interest of the company and its stakeholders.

"The management and management of the company intend to stay focused on the company and to ensure that the activities of the group are continued as much as possible."

Director of Corporate Enforcement Ian Drennan said: "The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 is an important piece of legislation that provides a legal framework within which employees can express concerns and provide information about potential offenses while enjoying protection against criminalization (such as suspension, dismissal, relegation) , disciplinary measures, etc.).

"In this case, secure announcements were made both internally within INM and directly to the ODCE." The protection afforded by the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 was a key factor in facilitating ODCE's investigation of the problems that led to the judgment in the High Court today. "

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