Wong v Minister for Justice

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMrs. Justice Denham
Judgment Date01 January 1994
Neutral Citation1992 WJSC-HC 4426
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number103 J.R./1992,[1992 No. 103 J.R.]
Date01 January 1994

1992 WJSC-HC 4426

THE HIGH COURT

103 J.R./1992
WONG v. MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

BETWEEN

RAYMOND WONG
PLAINTIFF

AND

THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE
RESPONDENT

Citations:

CONTEMPT OF COURT ACT 1982 (UK)

DESMOND V GLACKIN 1992 ILRM 490

CULLEN V TOIBIN & MAGILL PUBLICATIONS HOLDINGS LTD 1984 ILRM 577

DPP, PEOPLE V CONROY 1986 IR 460

AG V TIMES NEWSPAPERS 1974 AC 273

READ & HUGGONSON, IN RE 1742 2 ATK 469

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS & FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS ART 10

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE (AMDT) ACT 1972 S4

CONSTITUTION ART 40.1

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS & FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS ART 10(2)

O LAIGHLEIS, IN RE 1960 IR 93

WALSH, STATE V DPP 1981 IR 412

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS & FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS ART 15

Synopsis:

CONSTITUTION

Courts

Administration of justice - Interference - Litigant - Obloquy - Newspaper - Article - Suggestion that litigant involved with criminal gang - Suggestion untrue - Reference to litigant and his pending court proceedings - (1992/103 JR - Denham J. - 30/7/92)

|Wong v. Minister for Justice|

CONSTITUTION

Personal rights

Recourse to courts - Inhibition - Litigant - Obloquy - Newspaper - Article - Suggestion that litigant involved with criminal gang - Suggestion untrue - Reference to litigant and his pending court proceedings - (1992/103 JR - Denham J. - 30/7/92) [1994] 1 I.R. 223

|Wong v. Minister for Justice|

CONTEMPT OF COURT

Justice

Administration - Interference - Litigant - Obloquy - Newspaper - Article - Suggestion that litigant involved with criminal gang - Suggestion untrue - Reference to litigant and his pending court proceedings - Criminal contempt - (1992/103 JR - Denham J. - 30/7/92) - [1994] 1 I.R. 223

|Wong v. Minister for Justice|

PRACTICE

Attachment

Contempt of court - Criminal contempt - Justice - Administration - Prejudice - Newspaper - Article - Passports - Issue - Corruption - Rumour that Chinese triads involved - Applicant Chinaman contesting deportation decision - Judicial review proceedings - Article mentioning applicant's name and proceedings in context of such involvement - Public obloquy of litigant having recourse to the Courts - Administration of justice prejudiced - Contempt established - European Convention on Human Rights, 1950, article 10 - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, article 40 - (1992/103 - Denham J. - 30/7/92) - [1994] 1 I.R. 223

|Wong v. Minister for Justice|

1

Judgment of Mrs. Justice Denhamdelivered the 30th day of July 1992.

2

This is an application by the Applicant for an Order directing the attachment and committal to prison for contempt of Court of a Journalist and the Editor of the Sunday Times newspaper.

3

The Applicant is the Applicant in Judicial Review proceedings before the High Court seeking a Certiorari of the decision of the Minister for Justice communicated to the Applicant by letter dated the 9th of March 1992 refusing him permission "to enter or remain in Ireland". The Judicial Review case came on for hearing on the 3rd of June 1992 and was adjourned to obtain an interpreter for Mr. Wong who was to be cross-examined. The case was subsequently adjourned to the 30th of July 1992 for discovery.

4

On the 28th of June 1992 an article appeared in the Sunday Times under the heading "Triads "behind illegal aliens""with the bye-line of John Burns. The article was as follows:-

"A triad gang, part of the Chinese underworld, may be behind an alleged attempt to bend the Republic'sstrict immigration laws, a Dublin Court will be told this week. The claim follows an investigation into alleged irregularities at theAliens" Registration Office, a branch of the Department of Justice. One Garda who worked there has already been suspended after it was revealed that stamps were incorrectly applied to the passports of Hong Kong residents."

5

Meanwhile Raymond Wong, a restaurant owner in Dublin, is to appeal against a Deportation Order in the High Court on Thursday following evidence at a previous hearing that his British passport was stamped in an irregular manner.

6

His legal team will argue that permission for residency was given to the Hong Kong resident last year and he had complied with all the legal provisions of the application, and was not implicated in theAliens" Office investigation.

7

Wong was given permission to live in the Republic without time conditions - an arrangement not normally given to "aliens", according to Mary O'Reilly, an Immigration Officer, in an Affidavit already presented to the Court.

8

The Garda who signed his stamp was removed from the Aliens" Office after an internal inquiry, the Affidavit stated. It has also emerged that Gardai have submitted a file to Eamon Barnes, The Director ofPublic Prosecutions (D.P.P.), in the wake of the investigation.

9

Wong will appeal against a decision made by Padraig Flynn, the Justice Minister, not to proceed to a final ruling on his application for Irish citizenship. A letter given to Wong in March stating that Flynn was not allowing him to enter or remain in the Republic amounted to a Deportation Order, his lawyers maintain.

10

They are expected to argue the Order is contrary to regulations, which require three months" notice to be given to leave the country.

11

Garda sources said yesterday that a Chinese triad gang had attempted to bring Hong Kong residents to the Republic last year. The gang, known as K14, was trying to secure work permits for such people who were anxious to leave their country before it reverts to Chinese rule in 1997.

12

A Police investigation began last September into why work permits issued to a number of Hong Kong nationals in Ireland had been incorrectly stamped and why some permits were renewed when they should have beencancelled.

13

Police in Britain co-operated with Gardai in a second investigation into the activities of the K14 gang, which was active in the U.K. in the1970's.

14

Legal experts have expressed surprise that Wong's appeal is going ahead before the D.P.P. has had time to take a decision on the Garda file.

15

The Restaurants" Association of Ireland is also urging Gardai and the Ministers for Labour and Justice to investigate the number of aliens working illegally in Chinese Restaurants. About 80 work permits were issued to restraurant workers last year, according to official figures. However, Henry O'Neill, the Restaurateur's Chief Executive, claims the figure represents only a small proportion of the total number of aliens working in restaurants in Ireland.

"That would hardly cover the workforce of four Chinese Restaurants in Dublin," O'Neill said.

"For some reason, the political will for a crack-down is simply not there.""

16

The Applicant deposed that it was contended in the article that the case would be made in the week following publication of the article that a Dublin Court will be told that a triad gang "may be behind an alleged attempt to bend the Republic's strict immigration laws". The Applicant stated that this was untrue and insofar as the article relates this falsehood to his application for Judicial Review before this Court it was prejudicial to a full and fair hearing of the issues of his case. He deposed that it was never part of his case or the Respondent's case that allegations about Triad involvements in his affairs within oroutside the State would be pleaded in the proceedings. The State confirmed on the 30th of June 1992 that this was correct.

17

The Applicant denied that he had now or ever had in the past any association with the Triads or with any other illegal organization. He said that the substance and content of the publication is malicious and reckless and has interfered with the administration of justice by publishing a false account of the case before the High Court and has seriously damaged his good name and reputation in Dublin. He stated that he had been placed on trial in the publication and had been forced to come to Court to deny the veracity of the article and has been compromised in his personal dealings and lawful occupation.

18

The Applicant is a married man, with three school-going children and he works in the community in Dublin. He has lived in Ireland since1986.

19

The Applicant deposed that elsewhere in the article accounts were given of the case which was heard on the 3rd of June 1992 which is completely at variance with what was said by the parties involved.

20

The Applicant stated that the contents, purpose and effect of the said publication have disclosed a total disregard for his right to have a fair and unprejudicial hearing of his case before this Court. It also chooses to distort and to offer a misleading account to the public of the conduct of his case before the High Court.

21

Three Affidavits were filed in answer to the Motion. Andrew Ferguson Neil Editor of the Sunday Times newspaper deposed that it was not the policy of the Sunday Times nor isit his policy as Editor to publish matters which would tend to prejudice the fair conduct of court proceedings anywhere and that care was taken to avoid the possibility of the publication of anything that would amount to contempt of Court. He said that he would sincerely regret the publication of any matter in the Sunday Times which was a contempt of Court. He deposed that he would have no hesitation in offering to the Court a full and sincere apology for the publication of the article should the decision of the Court be that the article in question was prejudicial. He stated that he believed that the article in question, was not, and could not have been, prejudicial for the reason that the article was written concerning Court proceedings being heard by a Judge sitting alone.

22

Alastair John Brett is a Company Solicitor to the Times Newspapers Limited and he swore an Affidavit in response to the Motion. It was his job to read articles intended for publication and to consider them for libel and/or contempt. The article in question was shown to him in...

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