24th January 2022
On a busy beginning to October the virtual show kicked off with a case in the headline’s midweek from Germany where the Trial of Irmgard Furchner, a 96-year-old former Nazi death camp secretary was to commence before a youth court in Hamburg, the accused failing to show up at court on the first day. The Question of Justice being served was addressed by Seamus Gunn this morning who had misgivings about the Trial proceeding in its present format. He made the point that while there were 10,000 murders at this camp, outside Gdansk, that the lady before the court, was a secretary and acting under orders at the time. It was questionable as to what knowledge she would have had of the events or what responsibility, if any, she had for them. He explained the requirements for a murder charge and the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and that Men’s Rea and Actus Reus had to be proven against the accused. He said that up to 2011 it was virtually impossible to bring such charges before a court, the Proofs required for a Murder conviction in the federal Republic of Germany in respect of War crimes were that the specific crime had to be alleged, a specific victim had to be identified and it also had to be proven that the crime was motivated by racial hatred. He said that with the passing of time that this became virtually impossible but that after the conviction of a concentration camp guard in 2011, they had adopted a policy that persons who were accessories could be brought before the court to account. He said that he anticipated that there would be a robust Defence when this matter went to Trial. He accepted the point that time did not frustrate the investigation of a crime and the matter being brought to Trial but that it was questionable whether Justice was being served in this case when the Burden of Proof had been changed. Gregg Hughes made the comparison to Irish Courts and three Judge Courts presiding over a specific type of cases, but our contributor said that regardless, that the Burden of Proof remained the same and that it was a high threshold that had to be met. He said that there was also the very practical point that time was moving and would run out.
The Britney Spears conservatorship was then discussed in the context of a Wardship Application in Ireland, Seamus Gunn being of the opinion that the Draconian measures and the manner in which the conservatorship was handled in the USA would not occur in this jurisdiction due to the accountability regime in place in the High Court in respect of Wardship cases. He was of the view that this matter would garner a lot more publicity and be a source of further proceedings before it ended but that finally Britney Spears was on the right road to regain her freedom.
The Full Broadcast can be listened to below including the Q & A that followed.
24th January 2022
The first Zoom show following the summer break kicked off today hosted by Donal Kavanagh when the case of the record fine of € 225 Million being imposed by the Data Protection Commission on WhatsApp Ireland was reviewed. Seamus Gunn was of the opinion that it was interesting on 2 fronts, that it was the highest fine ever imposed by the Data Protection Commission in this country, following a fine of € 450,000.00 imposed on Twitter in December last year and secondly that the fine had been upped from a proposed € 50 Million to the figure of € 225 Million after it had been referred to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). He said that it was interesting that WhatsApp had set aside a substantial sum of € 77.5 Million to meet the complaint which was nearly trebled with the fine. He said that he thought it likely that the matter would be appealed and that if so in this jurisdiction, to the High Court or to the European Court. He said that in light of the fact that Amazon had been fined € 746 Million by Luxembourg in the summer that there was an emphasis on upping the penalties for these types of multinationals that were found to be in breach of data protection processing, he was not confident that such an appeal would change or reduce the fine. He said that on a positive note that the fine was payable to the exchequer of the country in which it is levied, hence Ireland would reap the benefit. It would also set a precedent for future breaches and penalties to be imposed as the European Data Protection Board had referred the matter back to the Irish Commissioner as they considered the proposed fine for € 50 Million to be inadequate. There are also remedial actions required by WhatsApp. Until such time as the appeal has been determined the matter shall remain ongoing, but our contributor was not optimistic about a positive outcome for the Appellant.
A typical diverse Q & A followed. Listen to the full interview below.