Sometimes, things just don’t add up, but you can’t quite work out why. That’s the way Bertie’s High Court challenge has affected me, and I’ve had to agonise over it for a couple of months, but I think I have it clear in my mind now.
Bertie gave an affidavit of discovery, in which he swore that he had listed all the information relevant to the Tribunal’s inquiries.
However, he also told the Dáil about other material, which he had not included in the affidavit. To put it another way, he informed the Dáil that he hadn’t given the Tribunal the full facts in his sworn affidavit of discovery.
What the fuck? said the Tribunal. Come back here Ahern you lying bastard and tell us about all this other stuff you said in the Dáil!
No, I won’t, said Bertie. Whatever I tell the Dáil is protected by parliamentary privilege. You can’t question me on it.
So there you have it. Bertie’s right, isn’t he? They can’t question him on it.
Well no, actually.
Though I’m not a lawyer, the answer seems perfectly plain to me. The Tribunal isn’t questioning him on his statement to the Dáil. It’s taking that statement as read, and treating it as public domain factual information, endorsed by Bertie himself.
Using that public domain information as the baseline, they want to question him further on what he told the Tribunal and I can’t see how he could legitimately challenge that.
Then again, I might be looking at it too logically. As I said, I’m not a lawyer.
Update: RTÉ are reporting that the Tribunal lawyers have withdrawn their argument about questioning Bertie on his Dáil statements. Good. It looks like I was right and they’ve seen reason. They have no need to question him on anything he said in the Dáil when they can question him on what he said to the Tribunal, using his Dáil statements for corroboration.
Bock’s analysis is thoroughly vindicated. Why don’t they just hire me at a million euros a day and forget about all these expensive lawyers? You know it makes sense.