COURT OF APPEAL written judgement in regard to the case of Ruth Moram and the Watchtower Society.

Court of Appeal 043

Justice Mary Irvine

Gerard Hogan

Justice Peter Kelly

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While as Justice Irvine concludes as follows:

But insofar as the issue of the Statute of Limitations is concerned, I take the view that this appeal has to be dismissed.

What is completely clear is the respect that the judges had for the moral position that Ruth has taken. They are amazed at her determination and her willingness to forgo her health and even the necessities of life to make the public aware of the the total control the Witnesses have over every aspect of life. They also have processes which deny the fundamental human rights of their members. They have won on a technicality but in reality they have been shamed because they have treated this member of their flock with ice cold contempt. They have been willing to destroy her to maintain their little club. The true story of what really is going on in Killarney we can now publish as now this is out of the courts the gloves will be off.

16. … I would simply like to say this. It is clear that Ms. Moram has a deep seated belief that she was wronged by the activities of the defendants. …..
17. One cannot but have sympathy for the position in which Ms. Moram finds herself. She seems to be driven by a desire to ensure that what she has discovered is brought to the attention of the public. This is not public interest litigation. This is a personal injuries claim which she has brought. Insofar as she has sought to ventilate her concerns in this regard, she has now done so in
a public court. This is the eighteenth time that her complaints have been before the courts in one shape or another. So I suspect that, insofar as she seeks to do right by her fellow citizens she has done so. She has probably brought her complaints home to the defendants also. Even though her claim has been dismissed, I have no doubt that she can feel that she has achieved something to her credit in bringing to light what she perceives to be wrongdoing.

PLEASE THE PDF OF THE JUDGEMENT HERE:

Court of Appeal judgement

THE COURT OF APPEAL

Kelly J.

Irvine J.

Hogan J.

2014/1100
SC 152/14
Ruth Moram
Plaintiff

And Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Ireland and
Andrew Beeston,
Peter Van Benthem and Martyn Bell

Defendants
Ex tempore Judgment delivered on the 20th day of July 2015 by Mr.
Justice Kelly
1. This is an appeal against the judgment and order of Barrett J. of the 28th
March, 2014. By that order Barrett J. struck out these proceedings on the
basis that they are statute barred.

2. The roots of the proceedings are to be found in events which took place
as far back as 2004. A very short and succinct summary of what occurred at
that time is to be found in the medical report which was put before the court
by the plaintiff Ms. Moram. Under the heading “History” the doctor says that
in 2004, Ruth Moram was accused of slander by a member of her church.
She was then Visited at home by two of the church elders and this caused her
great stress and anxiety as a result of which she subsequently left her church.
Then there is set out a history of the symptoms and of her consulting her
medical adviser in May 2004, suffering from stress, anxiety and low mood
and also episodes of tearfulness.

3. The doctor goes on to say that Ms. Moram decided to take matters to
her solicitor. On the 8th May, 2009, Ms. Moram received a report from her
solicitor after a member of the church had contacted her solicitor. She was
very traumatised by this report.

4. The sole issue which falls for determination this afternoon, is whether
or not Barrett J. was correct in reaching the conclusion that he did to the effect
that this litigation which began in May 2013, is statute barred.

5. This litigation is a claim for personal injuries allegedly sustained by
Ms. Moram as a result of the unlawful activities of the defendants. But it is
not the first piece of litigation that has ensued from the events of 2004.
Subsequent to those events, Ms. Moram began proceedings in the Circuit
Court and His Honour Judge O’Sullivan struck out those proceedings. There
was an appeal to the High Court brought by Ms. Moram which was heard and
determined by Hedigan J. in March 2012. In a written judgment by that judge
he came to the same conclusion that those proceedings should be struck out.
They were defamation proceedings.

6. There then followed the instant proceedings which commenced in May
2013. The contention which the defendants make is that this piece of
litigation is statute barred because there was available to Ms. Moram all of the
relevant information which would have enabled her to bring this action, if she
were minded to do so, as far back at 2004.

7. They may very well be correct in that contention. However, the High
Court judge took a more benign View of things and began to reckon from
2009 and that is the approach which I would favour insofar as this appeal is
concerned.

8. What is clear from letters which were written by Ms. Moram’s then
solicitor to both the Watch Tower Association in the United States and it’s
equivalent in this jurisdiction and to the other named defendants is that as of
the writing of those letters in 2009, she was in a position to contend that
unlawful activity on the part of the defendants had given rise to personal
injuries being sustained by her. That is, in my view, evidence that there was
available to her at that time all of the necessary information, both as to
wrongful activity and injury sustained as a result. It is true that she says that
there was not available to her at that time further information which came her
way in 2011 and 2012. That consists of the material which she referred to
during the course of the argument this afternoon.

9. That, to my mind, would not have made any difference save as to the
quality of the evidence that she would be able to lead at trial. It did not
suggest but that her solicitor in writing the letters of 2009 to which I have
referred was fully apprised of wrongful activity actionable at her suit as a
result of which she had sustained personal injuries.

10. She alleges that the later information which she obtained was the
subject of some form of concealed fraud. I use that term in the technical sense
in which it is mentioned in the statute of limitations. It is not fraud in the
sense of culpable wrong, failure to disclose or misrepresentation or plain
dishonesty.

11. I am unable to accede to the argument which Ms. Moram makes in that
regard, just as Barrett J. was unable to do so in the High Court. Indeed from
the answers which she gave this afternoon, it appears that this material
became known to her as a result of her finding it on the internet, rather than it
being the subject of any misrepresentation of the true position to her by the
defendants. Notwithstanding the volume of paper that has been furnished to
the court, there is, as far as I can ascertain, no material there which would
support a claim of some form of misrepresentation or dishonesty or
suppression of information on the part of the defendants.

12. When Barrett J. came to the conclusion which he did, he said:-
“In the course of her pleadings, the plaintiff alleged that in March 2011
to December 2012, she discovered a conspiracy on the part of all of the
defendants against which, had it not occurred, could have led to the
prevention of the personal injuries that she allegedly sustained.”

13. However, he said that even if there was such a conspiracy which he did
not accept, this did not alter the fact that time-wise the personal injuries
appeared to have been suffered as above and that such later causative factors
as are argued by the plaintiff to arise did not in fact pertain.

14. The plaintiff, on her own version of events, was aware that she
sustained the personal injury that might ground an action in negligence in
2009 (or even earlier). Notwithstanding the benefit of legal assistance, she
did not proceed with her claim until the 23rd May, 2013, a period of about
three years and seven months after the confirmatory diagnosis in October
2009. So, even giving the plaintiff the advantage of treating this later date of
2009 as the relevant date for limitation purposes, the proceedings began well
outside the applicable limitation period.

15. In my view, the High Court judge was correct when he came to his
conclusion. I have not been able to identify any error on his part and
consequently, for my part, I would dismiss this appeal and affirm his order.

16. Before doing so however, I would simply like to say this. It is clear that
Ms. Moram has a deep seated belief that she was wronged by the activities of
the defendants. That is so notwithstanding her failure in the Circuit Court and
on appeal in the High Court in respect of defamation proceedings and
notwithstanding the order that was made in the High Court which I would
affirm.

17. One cannot but have sympathy for the position in which Ms. Moram finds herself. She seems to be driven by a desire to ensure that what she has discovered is brought to the attention of the public. This is not public interest litigation. This is a personal injuries claim which she has brought. Insofar as she has sought to ventilate her concerns in this regard, she has now done so in
a public court. This is the eighteenth time that her complaints have been before the courts in one shape or another. So I suspect that, insofar as she seeks to do right by her fellow citizens she has done so. She has probably brought her complaints home to the defendants also. Even though her claim has been dismissed, I have no doubt that she can feel that she has achieved something to her credit in bringing to light what she perceives to be wrongdoing. But insofar as the issue of the Statute of Limitations is
concerned, I take the view that this appeal has to be dismissed.

Ms. Justice Irvine: For the reasons outlined by Mr. Justice Kelly in the course of his judgment I would also dismiss the appeal.

Mr. Justice Hogan: I also agree with the judgment of Mr. Justice Kelly 1 cannot identify any legal error on the part of Mr. Justice Barrett and I do not think that this is a case which can be brought within any of the exceptions provided for in s. 71 of the Statute of Limitations in a manner indicated by Mr. Justice Kelly.

A COPY WHICH I ATTEST
FOR REGISTRAR

APPROVED

 

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