Court dismisses John Delaney's appeal over access to documents seized from FAI

High Court reporter

The Court of Appeal has dismissed former FAI boss John Delaney's appeal against a decision allowing the Corporate Enforcement Agency (CEA) access to certain documents it seized as part of a criminal investigation into the football association.

Mr Delaney had appealed against the High Court's decision that the corporate watchdog, formerly known as the ODCE, was entitled to use just over 1,100 documents relating to him that were seized from the FAI.

He had claimed that the documents were covered by legal professional privilege (LPP) because they contain certain legal advice given to him regarding litigation that occurred during the many years he was with the Association.

The CEA claimed that LPP did not apply to the material in question.

In a decision delivered last October, Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds rejected Mr Delaney's arguments, saying that the documents were not covered by LPP and ruled that they could be accessed by the CEA as part of its ongoing criminal probe.

The judge said she was "satisfied that Mr Delaney has failed to discharge the requisite burden of proof required to maintain his assertion that the documents at issue are privileged."

Mr Delaney appealed that decision to the CoA.

In its judgement on Monday, the three-judge Court of Appeal comprised of Ms Justice Caroline Costello, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan and Ms Justice Mary Faherty dismissed the appeal and upheld the High Court's findings.

Mr Delaney's grounds of appeal included that the judge had erred by not explaining why she found the documents were not covered by LPP, when independent assessors appointed to review the material in advance of the High Court hearing had found that some or all of it was covered by LPP.

The appeal was opposed by the CEA, represented by James Dwyer SC, who said the High Court judge was perfectly entitled to make the findings that she did, irrespective of what the assessors had decided.