Sunday 16 December 2018

Disgraced solicitor Michael Lynn seeks clarification on Brazil jail time

Michael Lynn faces 33 charges here related to the collapse of his property business
Michael Lynn faces 33 charges here related to the collapse of his property business

Tim Healy

Fugitive struck-off solicitor Michael Lynn wants the High Court to determine whether the DPP is entitled to guarantee that time he served in a Brazilian prison while fighting his extradition to Ireland will be taken into account should he be convicted of fraud charges here.

The court heard on Monday Mr Lynn, who fled Ireland in 2007 allegedly leaving an estimated €80m in debts, is "close to the end of a long extradition process" in Brazil. He is currently been held in Cotel Prison, Recife, north-west Brazil. 

He faces 33 charges relating to alleged mortgage fraud of some €80m and has been imprisoned since 2013 when Brazilian federal police, acting on behalf of Interpol, arrested him near Recife.

On Monday, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted Michael O'Higgins SC, for Mr Lynn, leave to seek judicial review of the DPP's offer to the Brazilian authorities of a guarantee that his time served in that country would be offset against any prison term he might get here if convicted.

The judge's order is in place until this Thursday during which time the chief prosecution solicitor in the DPP's office and the Chief State Solicitor's Office are to be put on notice and served with papers in the case. The application was made on a one side only represented (ex parte) basis.

Mr O'Higgins said the guarantee over time served was provided as part of the Lynn extradition proceedings before the Brazilian Supreme Court.

Under the Brazilian system, there is a presumption of veracity in what is being told (by the State seeking extradition) to the court, counsel said.

However, Mr O'Higgins said, in our system the question of credit for time served in another jurisdiction is a matter for the judge who will hear the case involving the fraud charges. 

The question for the High Court to consider is whether a person in an administrative position, such as the DPP, is entitled to give such a guarantee.

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