Thursday 26 April 2018

Des Richardson loses Mahon challenge

Des Richardson
Des Richardson

BUSINESSMAN and former Fianna Fail fundraiser Des Richardson today lost a High Court challenge over what he claimed were erroneous findings of the Mahon Tribunal concerning him.

But Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said she accepted as a matter of fact there was a mistake in the Tribunal findings relating to Mr Richardson and the assertion that he claimed not to have any knowledge of the source of IR39,000.


The judge said the error of fact was replicated in another paragraph of the findings which stated that the Tribunal found it incredible that  Mr Richardson was unable to account for the origins of the funds in an account.


Ms Justice Dunne said this appeared to be a mistake of fact.


She said however it was not the function of the court in these proceedings  to correct errors of fact made by the Tribunal.


She had no doubt the Tribunal will be happy to correct the error.


Mr Richardson had claimed the Tribunal findings were "wholly erroneous" in that he was never asked during examination by Tribunal counsel to account for the origins of the funds in the account known as the Roevin account.


The businessman gave evidence over several days to the Tribunal in respect of its investigations into the finances of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.


In the proceedings,  the Tribunal had argued Mr Richardson failed to make a full and frank disclosure of material and relevant facts when seeking to challenge its findings , and that his case should be dismissed.


The Tribunal heard that, in 1993, funds from a company called Roevin Ireland Ltd were used to purchase a bank draft paid to Mr Ahern. Mr Richardson was examined extensively about his involvement with Roevin over two days of the Tribunal's public sittings.


Mr Richardson, Serpentine Avenue, Dublin 4 wanted the High Court to quash two sections of the final report of the Tribunal concerning him.


In her ruling today, Ms Justice  Dunne  said the case was more in the nature of a challenge to "part findings" of the Tribunal.


The manner in which it had been done by Mr Richardson, she said, gave force to the argument that what was at the heart of the application was an error of fact and an error within jurisdiction which was not amenable to judicial review.


Ms Justice Dunne said this was not a case where it could be said Mr Richardson had placed all his cards on the table in relation to the application to the court.

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