Friday 20 July 2018

Accountant 'damaged by denial of appeal'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Tim Healy

A tribunal's decision to dismiss accountant Alan Hynes's appeal against findings made against him by the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board (CARB) had "momentous consequences" for him, the High Court has heard.

Wexford-based Mr Hynes has brought a challenge over decisions made in March 2016 by an Appeals Tribunal of the Chartered Accountants convened to hear his appeal against findings made against him by CARB some 12 months earlier.

In 2015, CARB'S disciplinary tribunal found Mr Hynes had been in breach of codes of ethics and principles that were meant to guide the profession in integrity, competence and truthfulness.

Mr Hynes was the subject of multiple findings of misconduct and was barred from the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Those hearings, which lasted 14 days, heard complaints from investors who lost more than €18m on a number of property ventures Mr Hynes controlled including Tuskar Asset Management.

He appealed the 2015 determinations, which the tribunal dismissed on March 8, 2016.

In High Court proceedings against the Tribunal, he claims the decision of the tribunal to dismiss his appeal after it had refused to grant him an adjournment, because he required time to instruct a new legal team, amounted to a breach of fair procedures and was irrational. In his action, which came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan yesterday, Mr Hynes seeks orders including that the tribunal's decision to dismiss his appeal be quashed.

The application is opposed by the tribunal, which denies all of Mr Hynes's claims.

Opening the application, his counsel Frank Callanan said the dismissal of the appeal meant his client cannot hold himself out to be a chartered accountant, and severely impacted on his reputation.

Counsel said his client had been represented in the earlier hearings by a solicitor and barrister. However weeks before the appeal was due to be heard he required new lawyers.

He had a solicitor willing to represent him, but only if that solicitor obtained an adjournment of a month which the solicitor said it needed in order to prepare for the case.

Counsel said there would have been no prejudice to the tribunal to grant an adjournment.

However, his client was severely prejudiced by being refused an adjournment so he could get a legal team to represent him at the hearing, he said.

In reply, Eileen Barrington SC, for the tribunal, said the tribunal was perfectly entitled to dismiss the appeal after it had rejected Mr Hyne's application for an adjournment.

Following submissions from both parties Mr Justice Meenan reserved his decision.

Irish Independent

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