The Chief Executive of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, escaped the possibility of a prison sentence and a contempt of court finding on a legal technicality today.

The High Court found that papers in the case, alleging breach of a court order, were not properly served.

Mr Justice Barry White said that in contempt of court proceedings, where there is an application for committal to prison, notice must be served on the person whose committal is being sought.

This did not happen in the case of Mr O'Leary and Ryanair's Director of Flight and Ground Operations, David O'Brien.

However Mr Justice White did make an order requiring Ryanair to re-instate senior pilot John Goss to flying duties. 

Mr Goss had been suspended on what the company argued were operational and safety grounds. A full hearing is due to take place at the end of May. 

Mr O'Leary was also warned that if he is found to be in contempt of today's court order preventing the suspension of the pilot he could well be sent to jail.

Afterwards Mr O'Leary said he hoped Mr Goss would be back flying as soon as possible. Meanwhile, as he left the court precincts new court proceedings were served on him by a trade union official.