High Court adjourns application to examine Kildare-based charity Console's computers in ODCE probe

Celbridge-based charity was wound up in 2016 after concerns raised about its governance

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High Court adjourns application to examine Kildare-based charity Console's computers in ODCE probe

The case was heard at the High Court in Dublin

An application by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) to examine documents as part of its investigation into the Kildare-based suicide counselling charity Console has been adjourned for several weeks. 

The ODCE has brought a motion before the High Court seeking to examine materials it has obtained from the liquidator as part of its investigations into Celbridge-based Console which was wound up in July 2016, after concerns were raised about the charity's governance. 

The ODCE is investigating the charity's affairs to see if there was any potential criminal wrong doing committed. It has been provided with the charity's books and records by the liquidator. 

As part of its investigation the ODCE has brought a motion allowing it examine electronic documents stored on Console's computers. 

At the High Court on Thursday Remy Farrell SC, for Console's founder Mr Paul Kelly and his wife Patrica, had asked Ms Justice Caroline Costello for an adjournment to allow their application to be legally aided in the matter be considered by the Legal Aid Board.

The Kellys are in receipt of social welfare, the court heard. 

Kerida Naidoo SC, appearing with Aillil O'Reilly Bl, for the director opposed the adjournment on the grounds the motion has been pending before the court for some time. 

Counsel said the motion had brought in respect of electronic documents contained on company computers used by the Kellys. 

Arising out of a recent Supreme Court judgment, the ODCE does not wish to look at personal private material belonging to the Kellys as part of its investigation.  

The ODCEs wants to keep any material that is potentially private to the Kellys separated from what is relevant to its investigation, counsel said. 

The ODCE has asked the Kellys to engage with it in this respect, which they have not done. 

In granting the adjournment Ms Justice Costello, who accepted the matter should get on, said it was preferable that the Kellys have legal representation as there were "competing interests at play."

After putting the matter back for a month the Judge said the Kelly's solicitors should write to Legal Aid Board and informed that the court would like a decision whether the Kelly are entitled to legal aid in the application. 

The Judge said it was hoped that a hearing date for the application could be fixed when the matter next comes before the court.