Court Approves Anonymous Evidence From Expert Witness Due To Security Concerns In Aviation Dispute

Mark Tottenham BL, Decisis

April 3, 2024

BOC Aviation (Ireland) Ltd v Lloyd's Insurance Company S.A. [2024] IEHC 162 (High Court, McDonald J, 19 March 2024)

High Court granted an application allowing an expert witness to give evidence in camera during an upcoming trial, and for their identity to be protected during pre-trial stage. This was in light of the expert's expressed fears of potential harm if their identity became known to Russian authorities, given the sensitive nature of their testimony related to the Russian government's response to sanctions. The court found that the risk of harm to the expert was sufficiently substantiated, justifying the departure from the principle of public hearings under Article 34.1 of the Constitution. 

In camera trial – expert witness – identity protection – security concerns – Russian authorities – public hearing – Article 34.1 of the Constitution – witness statement –  pre-trial procedure – confidentiality – anonymisation – redaction – Foreign Agents Law – risk of harm – Gilchrist principles – common law power – judicial discretion – witness protection – freedom of choice – necessity test – Sweeney v VHI – Doe v Garda Commissioner

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