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DPP should be allowed to prepare for Lowry trial - judge

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Michael Lowry

Michael Lowry

Collins

Michael Lowry

Preparations for the trial of Independent TD Michael Lowry on tax charges should not be suspended because of his impending legal bid to stop the tax case going ahead, the President of the High Court said.

A stay on the trial going ahead remains in place pending determination of Mr Lowry's High Court judicial review bid to stop it altogether.

But Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said this should not prevent the DPP serving additional statements or making similar preparations for the trial.

Last month, the former Communications Minister was granted permission by the High Court to bring a challenge aimed at halting his trial before Dublin Circuit Court on four charges of allegedly filing incorrect tax returns in 2003 and 2007. He denies all charges.

Mr Lowry's trial was transferred from Co Tipperary to Dublin on the application of the DPP.

He claims his prosecution is extraordinary because it concerns a payment he had both declared and paid.

Mr Lowry (60), of Glenreigh, Holycross, Co Tipperary, also says he has no outstanding tax liability and is being treated unfairly and selectively.

The Tipperary North TD also contends he is entitled to prohibition orders on grounds of alleged prejudicial publicity and alleged wrongful release of taxpayer information into the public domain.

He also claims the transfer of the trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court breaches his rights - and amounts to him being punished for success as a politician in Tipperary.

Mr Justice Kearns was told yesterday the DPP was applying to lift the stay on progressing the criminal tax proceedings on the basis it would be oppressive. The earliest date for the tax trial would be January 2016, the judge was told.

Patrick Treacy SC, for Mr Lowry, said all his side was seeking was that the trial would not take place before the judicial review.

Mr Justice Kearns said the judicial review would be heard before the end of July and he was only continuing the stay on the trial but not on any preparations which the DPP needs to make in advance of the trial.

The court also heard there was a dispute between the DPP and Mr Lowry's lawyers as to whether Mr Lowry had been excused by the High Court from having to turn up in person for adjournments of the tax charges in the Circuit Court.

Mr Justice Kearns said this would be a matter for the judge dealing with those charges.

Irish Independent