Alan Hynes fails to show up to disciplinary appeal

Wexford accountant won a High Court action in March to have the appeal heard

A  file photograph of Wexford accountant Alan Hynes. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

A file photograph of Wexford accountant Alan Hynes. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Accountant Alan Hynes failed to turn up on Friday for a court ordered appeal against a decision to revoke his membership of the Chartered Accountants of Ireland.

The disciplinary appeals tribunal has now been adjourned until Monday to give Mr Hynes a final opportunity to make submissions in his appeal.

The original disciplinary action related to complaints from investors who lost €18 million in property ventures he controlled. A Chartered Accountants’ Regulatory Board (Carb) disciplinary tribunal excluded Mr Hynes in 2015 after finding he breached codes of ethics and principles meant to guide the profession in integrity, competence and truthfulness.

Mr Hynes subsequently got his membership restored after a High Court judicial review found in his favour on the grounds that he had been refused fair process.

On Friday, the tribunal heard that Mr Hynes has failed to engage in the appeal process in an “appropriate or satisfactory manner”.

Junior counsel Ronan Kennedy, Carb’s case presenter, said: “it would appear that Mr Hynes and his representatives have engaged in a deliberate strategy to conflate the costs” of the High Court action “to the matters with which the tribunal has to determine in the context of the appeal”.

Mr Kennedy was referring to the fact that Mr Hynes was awarded costs by the High Court in March 2018 in respect of his complaint that his original denial of the opportunity to appeal the disciplinary tribunal’s finding was unlawful.

However, he has yet to receive those costs because of failure to respond to repeated requests from Tommy McEvoy of Cyril O’Neill legal costs accountants for tax information required to settle the costs issue.

Subsequent correspondence opened at the tribunal on Friday morning showed that this “wholly unsatisfactory situation” is one of “Mr Hynes’s making”, Mr Kennedy said.

Correspondence read out in the tribunal saw Mr Hynes and his representatives engaging with Matheson, instructed by CAI, and the costs accountants but not being able to advance the matter because Mr Hynes failed to provide invoices and tax details as requested.

In a number of letters, Mr Hynes or a purported representative, Aisling Furlong, requested that “cheques” for the award of costs be made available for amounts ranging from €190,140 to €600,000. But because he failed to provide tax details the cost accountants working for CAI were unable to proceed.

In an e-mail dated January 30th, Aisling Furlong, who used an e-mail address related to a person called Rachel Hynes and had the same mobile number as Mr Hynes, said that the “hearing of Mr Hynes’s hearing in public is not to be delayed”.

Mr Kennedy argued that there was “repeated failure to engage with the issues” and “repeated demands for the payment not only of costs, but of sums by way of compensation which no tribunal has determined is due to Mr Hynes”.

A subsequent e-mail from Mr Hynes through his personal e-mail address said he didn’t understand why he hasn’t been compensated for costs. “For obvious reasons we cannot accept your invitation to attend any more meetings. We hope to receive confirmation that a cheque can be collected on Friday and that Mr Hynes’s appeal will be prosecuted as ordered.”

“It’s difficult to know what to make of that and that is the correspondence,” Mr Kennedy concluded after reading a string of e-mails and letters which showed Mr Hynes did not present himself at a case management meeting held in late 2018 or at a subsequent adjournment of that meeting.

As a result of Mr Hynes’s lack of engagement, Mr Kennedy invited the tribunal to consider adjourning the proceedings until Monday “to afford Mr Hynes a final opportunity to either make submissions in respect of this application or alternatively to turn up before this tribunal and make an application for an adjournment if that is what he seeks”.

The tribunal chairman, senior counsel Anthony Aston, said correspondence as late as January 29th invited him to make submissions and questioned whether he should get yet another opportunity.

“This tribunal is extremely conscious of the seriousness of theses complaints against Mr Hynes and the consequences of a finding if we were to confirm the findings of the disciplinary committee,” Mr Aston said.

“We’re also very conscious of the public interest in complaints against accountants being heard efficiently, properly and on time. At no time has he [Mr Hynes]indicated to the tribunal that he didn’t want this appeal tribunal to proceed today,” he added.

However, after considering Mr Kennedy’s suggestion, Mr Aston decided to adjourn the hearing “so that Mr Hynes can make submissions strictly on the issue that arises” in terms of dismissing the entire appeal.

Chartered Accountants Ireland established the CARB under its bylaws. The regulatory board is responsible for overseeing Chartered Accountants Ireland’s disciplinary responsibilities and for supervising the body’s regulatory and disciplinary functions.

Chartered Accountants Ireland’s council is ultimately responsible for regulating and disciplining its members.