M.M. v Drury

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeO'Hanlon J.
Judgment Date01 January 1995
Neutral Citation1994 WJSC-HC 3447
Docket NumberNo. 3322P/1994,[1994 No. 3322P]
Date01 January 1995
M v. DRURY

BETWEEN

MAURA MAGUIRE
PLAINTIFF

AND

PAUL DRURY INDEPENDENT STAR LIMITED JOHN SHEILS SUNDAY TIMESJOHN BURNS THE DAILY MIRROR JOHN KIERANS EASONS DISTRIBUTORS LIMITEDINDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS LIMITED VINCENT DOYLE CONOR MAGUIRE
DEFENDANTS

1994 WJSC-HC 3447

No. 3322P/1994

THE HIGH COURT

Synopsis:

CONSTITUTION

Personal rights

Privacy - Home - Journalists - Intrusion - Children - Interrogation - Absence of parents - Freedom of expression - Husband's allegation that wife had an affair with a priest - Publication of allegation - Further publication not restrained - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Articles 40, 41 - (1994/3322 P - O'Hanlon J. - 8/6/94) 1994 2 IR 8, 1995 1 ILRM 108

|M. v. Drury|

INJUNCTION

Interlocutory

Family - Privacy - Invasion - Journalists - Material - Publication - Husband's allegation that wife had an affair with a priest - Newspaper publication of allegation - (1994/3322 P - O'Hanlon J. - 8/6/94) 1994 2 IR 8, 1995 1 ILRM 108

|M. v. Drury|

Citations:

JUDICIAL SEPARATION & FAMILY LAW REFORM ACT 1989

MCGEE V AG 1974 IR 284

MCCANN & KENNEDY, IN RE 1976 IR 382

CONSTITUTION ART 40

CONSTITUTION ART 41

X (A MINOR), IN RE 1975 1 AER 697

X (A MINOR), IN RE 1985 1 AER 53

M & ANOR (MINORS), IN RE 1990 1 AER 205

R V CENTRAL INDEPENDENT TELEVISION 9.2.94 CA (THE INDEPENDENT 17.2.94)

BARNARDO V MCHUGH 1891 AC 388

SCOTT V SCOTT 1913 AC 417

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ACT 1960 S12(1)(a) UK

DUCHESS OF ARGYLES CASE 1965 1 AER 611

1

Judgment delivered the 8th day of June, 1994,by O'Hanlon J.

2

In this case the Plaintiff and the last-named Defendant are husband and wife. On the 26th July, 1993, an Order for judicial separation was made in the High Court on the application of the wife. The judgment delivered that day referred to the fact that the husband had also commenced proceedings under the Judicial Separation and Law Reform Act, 1989, claiming a decree of judicial separation and expressed the view that the evidence given during the lengthy hearing of the case indicated that each spouse had established ample grounds for invoking the provisions of the Act for the purpose of seeking a decree of judicial separation.

3

There are five children of the marriage, ranging in age from 15 down to 7, and living with the wife at the family home in Co. Wicklow.

4

The last-named Defendant has at all times contended that thebreakdown of the marriage was attributable to infidelity on the part of the wife in forming a relationship with a priest which was inconsistent with her marriage vows, and in refusing to break off the relationship when challenged as to her conduct.

5

The wife, it is fair to say, has made numerous counter-charges of infidelity against the husband, and supported them by evidence given during the proceedings for judicial separation, as well as claiming that the husband failed in many other ways to live up to the demands of married life and behaved in a manner which made her life in the homeintolerable.

6

The husband, however, appears intent on pursuing his claim that the wife's affair with a priest was the sole cause of the marital breakdown and has expressed an intention of bringing proceedings for damages against some as yet unspecified authorities in the Catholic Church for alleged failure to intervene when allegations of misconduct against the priest were brought to their notice.

7

He has gone further, and established contact with the Press with a view to obtaining maximum publicity for the allegations he is making against his wife and the priest in question, and has apparently negotiated a lucrative contract for the sale of the story to the Mirror Group, publishers of the "Daily Mirror".

8

As a result of this course of action on the part of the husband a series of reports have appeared in the press inrecent times, dealing with the matter, commencing with a short article in the "Sunday Times" on the 29th May, 1994, followed by a similar feature in the "Irish Independent" on the following day, 30th May, 1994. Apart from referring to the intended Plaintiff as an Irish architect, and father of five children, who was demanding compensation because a priest had an affair with his wife, these reports do not contain names or other descriptive details identifying the parties involved.

9

On the same day that the article appeared in the "Irish Independent" a reporter and photographer from the "Star" newspaper called to the Plaintiff's home in Co. Wicklow and found no one at home but three of the children, aged respectively 12, 10 and 7. They engaged the children in conversation and represented that they were friends of the last-named Defendant, and asked for a photograph of him as "it had something to do with his work" (according to the account later given by the children). A photograph was produced and some photographs were taken of the children. The men left but returned later when the Plaintiff was at home, and took a further photograph of her without her consent. At this stage the children became distressed and nervous. The Plaintiff made complaint to the editorial staff of the "Star" newspaper and was given an assurance that if photographs were taken without permission they would not beused.

10

On the following day, May, 31st, (Tuesday), more detailed stories were published by the "Mirror" and the "Star". ThePlaintiff then became aware that the "Mirror" proposed to publish an extended, front-page feature about the matter on Wednesday, 1st June, 1994, and application was made in the early hours of the morning to Mr. Justice Kinlen, who gave an interim order preventing publication or distribution of the issue containing the said article.

11

Later on the same day an application was made to me on behalf of the Mirror Group to discharge the said interim injunction and a further interim order was made in its place requiring the deletion of all material taken from the hearing of the judicial separation proceedings but otherwise permitting publication of the article to proceed.

12

The issue of the "Daily Mirror" for Thursday, June 2 then carried a front-page story followed by four further pages of narrative and photographs. The story was given similar prominence in the issue of the "Star" which appeared that day.

13

There followed the present application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain the first ten-named Defendants from publishing or communicating to any person any matter or fact particular to the family life of the Plaintiff, or any matter concerning the Plaintiff and her children arising in connection with the judicial separation proceedings save such as might be lawfully disclosed in the course of suchproceedings.

14

During the course of the hearing of the interlocutory application Counsel for the Plaintiff applied to have thefive children of the marriage, who reside with the Plaintiff, joined as co-Plaintiffs and the necessary Order was made for this purpose.

15

Initially, the Plaintiff in bringing these proceedings and applying for interim and interlocutory relief as aforesaid, was relying on breach of her right to privacy, claimed as a personal right derived under the provisions of the Irish Constitution, with particular reference to Article 41 thereof relating to the Family.

16

As regards the claim of the wife, I understand it to be conceded by Counsel representing her that unless such rights derived from the Constitution could be established, there were no other grounds for prohibiting the type of publication complained of, save insofar as it introduced material derived from the hearing of the judicial separation proceedings which were held in camera, as required by the Act of 1989.

17

Mr. Rogers, representing the Plaintiff, claimed that what was involved was a proposed disclosure of matters relating to the intimate family relationship of husband and wife. He referred to the judgments in McGee v. Attorney General, 1974, I,R., and in particular to the judgment...

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