Sunday 21 July 2019

Solicitor hit with €1.4m in penalties

A DUNDALK solicitor has been hit with a € 1.43 million financial penalty, and it is recommended that the papers in a case go to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard two cases brought by the Law Society against Joseph Traynor, Clanbrassil Street both relating to solicitors' undertakings given in relation to property transactions. Mr Traynor did not appear at the hearing.

The tribunal's findings were that the High Court should be asked to strike Mr Traynor off the Roll of Solicitors, and that he make a payment of € 800,000 in relation to one of the cases and

€ 640,000 in relation to the other. It also recommended that the papers in the case be sent by the High Court to the DPP.

It is understood that the financial penalties correspond to the losses incurred by people dealing with Mr Traynor.

The tribunal consists of 20 solicitor members and 10 lay members. It can impose a variety of penalties on a solicitor found guilty of misconduct. However, only the High Court can strike a solicitor off.

Mr Traynor was mentioned in court earlier this week in relation to a claim from ACC bank for € 7 million in damages from another solicitor over his alleged failure to ensure the bank had good security for a loan to property developer Francis Tiernan.

Mr Tiernan, Longfield Road, Newry, got the loan in 2006 to buy 103 acres of lands zoned residential at Castlewarden, Naas, with the intention of 'flipping on' the lands within a year at a profit, Lyndon MacCann, for ACC, told Mr Justice Frank Clarke at the Commercial Court on Tuesday.

Counsel said it later emerged Mr Tiernan never owned the Naas lands and the bank had no first legal mortgage over those.

Mr Tiernan had defaulted on payment of the Naas loan and other loans advanced to him over five years by ACC's Park Street, Dundalk branch, and the bank secured judgment for € 12 million against him last year.

In its proceedings against solicitor Brian Johnston, practising as Brian Johnston Company Solicitors, Park Street, Dundalk, ACC claimed entitlement to € 7 million over alleged negligence by him related to his alleged failure to put in place securities for the loan.

Mr Johnston denied negligence and alleged failures by Joseph Traynor, of Traynor & Co, solicitors, Clanbrassil Street, to honour alleged undertakings given by him to ensure the bank had good security.

Mr Johnston also alleged ACC had agreed to allow the loan be drawn down on the undertaking of Mr Traynor to take the necessary steps to ensure the bank had good title to the lands at Naas.

The bank denies it was aware of any such undertaking by Mr Traynor prior to the draw-down of the Naas loan.