Ryanair pilot denies email was designed 'to drive wedge between management and pilots', court hears

By Ann O'Loughlin

Former Ryanair pilot John Goss has told the High Court an email at the centre of a case which the airline is suing him and two others over was a reasonable document.

On his second full day under cross examination, Captain Goss told the court he made his own enquiries about the information in the email before it was sent to Ryanair pilots. He was satisfied it was correct and stood over it.

The airline is suing him and Evert Van Zwol and Ted Murphy, who are all members of the Ryanair Pilot Group (RPG) interim council, over the September 2013 email circulated to 2,289 pilots.

It was headed "Pilot Update: what the markets are saying about Ryanair". The airline says it falsely inferred, among other things, the company misled the market.

It says it was published maliciously and was part of an ongoing RPG effort to trade unionise its pilots.

The defendants deny defamation and say the words complained of do not mean what Ryanair says.

The action is now in its fifth week before a jury and Mr Justice Bernard Barton.

Ted Murphy, Evert Van Zwol and John Goss. Pic: Collins

Under cross-examination by Martin Hyaden SC, for Ryanair, Captain Goss denied that because the RPG had been getting nowhere in relation to raising safety issues that the email was the "next stage" in mounting pressure on management to talk with the RPG. It would make no sense to do such a thing, Capt. Goss said.

He denied it was about "outcasting management" in the eyes of pilots. There would be no point in doing that when it was about talking to them, he said.

Counsel said having run into a "dead end" with the aviation authority over safety claims, the RPG moved target to see if it could get some traction out of accusing management of acting improperly when informing the market. He replied that was absolutely incorrect and he could see no evidence to suggest that.

It was also put to him that leading up to the publication of the pilot update, he had a known hostility and ill-will towards the company given his history. He replied he felt disappointed and upset at the way he had been treated, but hostility would be the wrong word.

Asked did his dismissal in 2013 make him angry, he said he had mixed feelings of shock at first, then disappointment and there was an element of anger as anyone would have when they are fired without due process.

Being "dumped without the opportunity to defend yourself" left him extremely worried about what would happen and this was quickly followed by the serving of these defamation proceedings.

He denied the purpose of the pilot update was to drive a wedge between management and pilots. That would stop any discourse between the two sides when the sole purpose was to organise pilots so they could deal directly with the management.

"Putting a wedge between them would have been completely against the work we were doing".

Cross examination of Capt. Goss has finished and he will be briefly re-examined by his own counsel tomorrow when the case resumes.



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