Ireland: Justice Max Barrett of the High Court has ruled that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) breached the terms of a search warrant by seizing the email account of a CRH executive in 2014. The court also determined that the competition body had breached the Data Protection Acts, the Irish constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. The court added that the seized emails contained material outside the scope of the investigation.
The CCPC responded by saying it was ‘considering carefully’ the implications of the judgment and the next steps that it would take. However, its investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices by Irish Cement in the supply of bagged cement continues.
The CCPC carried out an unannounced search at the premises of Irish Cement on 14 May 2015 as part of an on-going investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices in the supply of bagged cement. During the search, the CCPC seized a number of electronic documents including the mailboxes of a number of current and former employees of Irish Cement. CRH argued that certain emails in the mailbox of one such employee, Seamus Lynch, were unrelated to the business of Irish Cement and were therefore not entitled to be seized. Accordingly, in November 2015, CRH brought a High Court action against the CCPC seeking an injunction to prevent the CCPC from examining these emails.