Court rejects INM challenge to corporate watchdog investigation

The ODCE want to appoint inspectors to look into the company's business affairs.

Updated: 12.15

Independent News and Media (INM) has failed to overturn the ODCE's decision to apply to the High Court for inspectors to be appointed to look into its affairs.

The Director of Corporate Enforcement wants to move them in on foot of his concerns about the way the company is run.

This whole process began in November 2016 when INM's then-CEO Robert Pitt made a number of protected disclosures.

The following August, he claimed a large quantity of tapes containing data from INM's IT system were removed and analysed by a company in the UK.

Robert Pitt is pictured at a 2016 INM EGM in Dublin's Alexander Hotel | Image: RollingNews.ie

The court heard INM fully complied with the investigation that followed, and was taken by complete surprise when it learned of the decision to apply for inspectors to look into its affairs.

It challenged the decision by claiming it should have been put on notice - and claimed any concerns would have been addressed had they been identified.

But Mr Justice Seamus Noonan rejected their arguments in a 37-page judgement delivered on Friday.

He described its proposition that it had a right to be consulted before the application was made as "novel and without precedent”"and one which cannot be sustained.

His decision now paves the way for the application to be brought and the case is due to come before the courts again next week.