Weeland v Raidió Teilifís Éireann

CourtHigh Court
Judgment Date01 December 1987
Docket Number[1987 No. 10641P]
Date01 December 1987

High Court

[1987 No. 10641P]
Weeland v. R.T.E.
Ernst Weeland
Radio Telefís Éireann éireann and Pat Butler

Case mentioned in this report:—

In re Kennedy and McCann [1976] I.R. 382.

Practice and procedure - Contempt of Court - Criminal contempt - Freedom of expression - Broadcast of television programme concerning Circuit Court proceedings under appeal - Plaintiff alleging programme critical of Circuit Court judgment - Right to a fair trial - Whether programme brought administration of justice into disrepute - Whether unbalanced programme amounts to contempt of court.

Motion on notice.

On the 18th June, 1987, at Tralee Circuit Court Judge Gleeson dismissed an action taken against the plaintiff concerning the sale of certain lands. This order was appealed to the High Court on Circuit by notice of appeal dated the 24th June, 1987. The case was listed for hearing on the 12th October, 1987, but was adjourned by the consent of the parties to March, 1988.

By plenary summons dated the 19th November, 1987, the plaintiff sought an order restraining further broadcast or dissemination by the defendants of a television programme originally broadcast on the 21st October, 1987, pending the determination of the appeal.

By notice of motion dated the 20th November, 1987, the plaintiff applied to the High Court for an interlocutory injunction. The plaintiff's application was heard by Carroll J. on the 30th November, 1987.

The plaintiff was the successful defendant in a Circuit Court action which was the subject matter of a television programme produced and broadcast by the defendants. The plaintiff sought an interlocutory injunction to prevent the further broadcast of the programme pending the determination of an appeal of the Circuit Court order to the High Court. The plaintiff alleged that the programme was in contempt of court in that it was critical of the Circuit Court judgment; attempted to surround the judgment with a wall of criticism and innuendo and advocated a result other than that sustained in the proceedings. He further alleged that the programme prejudiced his right to a fair trial in the High Court because it made the presentation of his defence more difficult.

Held by Carroll J. in refusing the interlocutory injunction, 1, that to go beyond the acceptable limits of freedom of expression, criticism of a judgment must bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

2. That in the instant case the programme, although unbalanced, did not go beyond the acceptable limits of reasonable criticism and accordingly the criticisms alleged did not...

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2 cases
  • S (Ps) v S (Ja) & Independent Newspapers (Irl) Ltd & Rte
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    • High Court
    • 19 May 1995
    ...Desmond v. Glackin [1992] I.L.R.M. 490. R. v. Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1968] 2 ALL ER 319. Weeland v. R.T.E. and Pat Butler [1987] I.R. 662. Borrie and Lowe, Law of Contempt, second edition. London 1983. Solicitor General v. Radio Avon Limited and Another [1978] 1 N.Z.L.R. 225. In ......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Criticising judges in Ireland
    • Ireland
    • Irish Judicial Studies Journal Nbr. 1-2, January 2002
    • 1 January 2002
    ...trial of persons supporting a political cause has been the subject of strong emotion and 18[1981] I.R. 412, at 440. 19[1976] I.R. 382 20[1987] IR 662, at 2001] Criticising Judges in Ireland 89 condemnation of the process in the Special Criminal Court in a manner which has led to the Directo......

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