Irish Times editor faces prison sentence

Jail and large fines a possibility for refusal to identify journalistic sources

The editor of the Irish Times, Geraldine Kennedy, and one of its senior journalists face jail terms of up to two years and fines of €300,000 for their failure to cooperate with a judicial tribunal established to investigate payments to Irish politicians and allegations of corruption.

Confidential information from the tribunal relating to the Irish Prime Minister’s financial dealings was leaked to the newspaper but Ms Kennedy and the journalist, Colm Keena, have refused to identify their source.

The editor has also admitted to destroying documentation relating to the leaked information after having received legal advice. Furthermore, the newspaper printed the story despite the existence of an injunction restraining the media from publishing confidential information obtained from the tribunal.

Ms Kennedy claims that she was unaware of the injunction and also seeks to rely on the defence that publication of the story was in the public interest.