A High Court judge has given Wexford businessman Alan Hynes three weeks to provide a sworn reply to a bid to extend his bankruptcy over his alleged non co-operation with the official administering it.
An interim extension of the bankruptcy continues pending a full hearing of the Official Assignee’s extension application.
Mr Hynes, who has brought a separate application to “annul” his bankruptcy, was not in court and did not participate remotely when the extension matter was mentioned to Mr Justice Liam Kennedy on Monday.
The judge heard Mr Hynes had sent an email saying he would not be participating, was unable to attend and is still seeking legal aid.
Michael Connolly BL, for the Official Assignee (OA) in bankruptcy, said his side had sent Mr Hynes a remote link to the hearing, but Mr Hynes had said he could not access it.
His email had also asked for a meeting with the OA’s side.
Counsel said Mr Hynes was directed two weeks ago to serve the OA with his annulment application, after which the OA’s solicitor had received six different emails with images of proceedings. The only one relevant to the bankrupt’s estate was one that appeared to be a screenshot/photo of a notice of motion, he said. There was no affidavit and there did not seem to be any proofs concerning that application, Mr Connolly said.
It was also unclear what proceedings Mr Hynes was seeking legal aid for, but it appeared it was in relation to all the proceedings.
“We’re in no better position in relation to knowledge of his legal aid application, it seems he is seeking time in relation to that,” Mr Connolly said.
Counsel asked the judge for a hearing date for the extension application, saying: “It’s quite clear to me that Mr Hynes is not going to participate in that as things stand.”
The extension matter has been going on for some time and there is no replying affidavit from Mr Hynes and no statement of affairs, he said.
Mr Hynes, he said, previously failed to get a stay from the High Court in relation to its October 2022 bankruptcy order, and failed to show up at the Court of Appeal for his appeal against that order. The appeal went ahead in his absence and was dismissed.
In the circumstances, the OA’s hands “are tied” but he could not point to any prejudice by the delays, apart from the ongoing costs of these matters in the estate, counsel said.
After counsel asked the judge to direct Mr Hynes to provide a replying affidavit for the extension application, the judge directed that this should be done within 21 days.
Mr Hynes should also be notified to serve, within seven days, the relevant papers for his annulment application on the OA’s side, he directed.
If the latter application is proceeding, it would make sense for both matters to proceed at the same time, the judge said.
Mr Hynes should also give details of the progress of his legal aid application and what proceedings it relates to, the judge said, before adjourning the matter to March 11th.
The High Court adjudicated Mr Hynes and his estranged wife Noreen Dunphy as bankrupts on foot of petitions from John and Bridget Atkinson, of Glenbrien, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, who obtained judgment against them in 2009 for more than €200,000.
Ms Dunphy, who had also failed in her bid to have the adjudication against her paused or quashed, has since exited bankruptcy.
A tribunal of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board had in 2015 excluded Mr Hynes from the Institute of Chartered Accountants following a hearing sparked by complaints from investors who lost more than €18 million on his failed property development ventures.