Emergency interim injunction against media defeated

27 October 2020

Last week, following a series of emergency Court hearings, Carson McDowell was successful in resisting an emergency interim injunction application advanced by the applicant, a Mrs. Cassidy.

The applicant had recently been convicted of converting criminal property contrary to S.327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act, for which she received a two year suspended sentence. Her convictions arose from a 2018 PSNI raid on the home the applicant shared with her husband, in which the PSNI discovered a significant amount of cocaine and money. The applicant’s husband and two others were also convicted of various offences related to the seizure, further details of which can be found in this news report.

Following publication by Sunday Life of details of her conviction and sentence, the applicant moved to prevent Sunday Life from reporting anything about her in future, including forthcoming public confiscation proceedings arising from her criminal convictions. The applicant advanced her application by relying on privacy laws, with the support of legal aid.

As the application presented significant issues for both open justice and the freedom of the press, Sunday Life publisher Independent News and Media Limited instructed Carson McDowell’s Fergal McGoldrick, and Gerald Simpson QC, to robustly resist the emergency interim injunction application.

Relying on established precedent, and relevant legislation in the areas of open justice, misuse of private information and data protection, Sunday Life mounted a detailed defence of its freedom to publish material about the applicant and her criminal proceedings at the initial Friday afternoon Court hearing.

With the applicant afforded some time to consider her position, the matter returned to Court on Wednesday last, at which the applicant indicated she would concede her application for an emergency interim injunction. As such, HHJ McFarland dismissed the applicant’s application for an interim injunction in its entirety, ensuring media reporting of criminal proceedings in the case can continue.

Sunday Life’s article on the defeated application can be read in this news report.

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