Sunday 16 December 2018

Former solicitor Michael Lynn granted bail on strict conditions pending trial in 2020

Michael Lynn (centre) arriving at the Criminal Courts of Justice earlier this yearPhoto: Paddy Cummins/PCPhoto.ie
Michael Lynn (centre) arriving at the Criminal Courts of Justice earlier this yearPhoto: Paddy Cummins/PCPhoto.ie

Ruaidhrí Giblin

Former solicitor Michael Lynn, who was extradited from Brazil to face multimillion euro theft charges, has been granted bail on strict conditions pending trial in 2020.

Mr Lynn (49), with a last address in St Alban's Park, Sandymount, Dublin, is facing 21 charges at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court relating to the alleged theft of almost €30 million from seven financial institutions.

In one of the sample charges before the court, Mr Lynn is accused of stealing €4.1 million from Irish Nationwide on April 4, 2007.

In another sample count, he is charged with stealing €3.6 million from Ulster Bank on October 20, 2006.

In March Mr Lynn was extradited to Ireland from Brazil, where he has been living for several years. He unsuccessfully sought bail in the District Court but was refused. He appealed this to the High Court and was again refused bail by Ms Justice Una Ni Raifeartaigh on April 6.

He successfully appealed the High Court’s decision today and he was accordingly granted bail by the Court of Appeal on a number of strict conditions.

Giving judgment in the three-judge court, Mr Justice John Hedigan said Mr Lynn will have been in pre-trial custody for 22 months in Ireland by the time of his trial date in January 2020. Such a delay was “indeed very disturbing” and it was a factor the Court of Appeal had to take into account.

In refusing bail, the High Court had held that Mr Lynn was a flight risk.

Counsel for Mr Lynn, Michael O’Higgins SC, said the risk was reduced given the length of time his client had already spent in custody. He said his client had been in custody since August 2013 in Brazil. By 2020, his continued incarceration would amount to a sentence of about eight years with standard remission.

As such, Mr O’Higgins said the bulk of any potential sentence, if Mr Lynn is to be found guilty, would have already been served.

Mr O’Higgins said Mr Lynn’s wife and children had moved back to Ireland. The youngest daughter was about to start school and “I understand the family dog was brought back from Brazil”.

Moreover, there was now almost nowhere Mr Lynn can flee to from where he could not be retrieved and indeed jailed again pending such return. Mr O’Higgins said the “Ronnie Biggs scenario” was no longer workable.

Mr Justice Hedigan said it was clear there was at least some risk that one who has fled before will do so again. However, the situation had altered “very considerably” and it appeared clear the risk was now a “very much diminished one”.

Mr Justice Hedigan said the Court of Appeal had to consider where the interests of justice lay and must pay full respect to the presumption of innocence.

He said stringent bail conditions together with closely monitored compliance would meet the much diminished flight risk.

Mr Lynn was granted bail on an independent surety of €100,000. He must surrender his passport and undertake not to apply for a new one. The passport of his wife and children, if any, must also be handed in to court.

He must reside at a given address in Maynooth, observe a curfew between 9pm and 6am daily, carry a mobile phone and be available to gardai on that phone 24 hours a day and stay away from all ports and airports.

Mr Justice Alan Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice Hedigan, said the court would admit Mr Lynn to bail on the basis of those terms.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News