Court hears of ‘momentous consequences’ for accountant after appeal refused

Wexford-based Alan Hynes claims appeals tribunal’s decision is unfair and irrational

 Alan Hynes: had  appealed against  findings of misconduct made by the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board in 2015. Photograph: Eric Luke

Alan Hynes: had appealed against findings of misconduct made by the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board in 2015. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

A tribunal’s dismissal of accountant Alan Hynes’s appeal against findings made against him by the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board (Carb) had “momentous consequences” for him, the High Court has heard.

Wexford-based Mr Hynes is challenging decisions made in March 2016 by an appeals tribunal of the board concerning findings made against him some 12 months earlier.

In 2015, a Carb disciplinary tribunal, after hearings lasting 14 days, found Mr Hynes had breached codes of ethics and principles meant to guide the profession in integrity, competence and truthfulness.

Mr Hynes was subject of multiple findings of misconduct and was barred from the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

The disciplinary tribunal heard complaints from investors who lost more than €18 million on a number of property ventures Mr Hynes had controlled, including Tuskar Asset Management.

Among various findings, it found Mr Hynes had been lacking in integrity and truthfulness and had failed to account for €3.1 million of investors’ funds.

On March 8th, 2016, the appeals tribunal dismissed Mr Hynes’s appeal over the disciplinary tribunal’s findings.

In High Court proceedings, he claims the appeals tribunal’s decision to dismiss his appeal after refusing to grant him an adjournment to allow him instruct new lawyers amounted to a breach of fair procedures and was irrational.

In his action before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Friday, Mr Hynes wants various orders, including quashing the tribunal’s decision. The application was opposed by the tribunal, which denied Mr Hynes’s claims.

Reputation

Opening the application, Frank Callanan SC, for Mr Hynes, said the dismissal of the appeal meant his client cannot hold himself out to be a chartered accountant, and that severely affected Mr Hynes’s reputation.

Mr Hynes had been represented in the earlier hearings by a solicitor and barrister but, just weeks before the appeal was due to be heard, he required new lawyers.

He had a solicitor willing to represent him but only if that solicitor got a month-long adjournment which the solicitor said was necessary to prepare for the case.

There would have been no prejudice to the tribunal had it granted an adjournment but Mr Hynes was severely prejudiced by the refusal, counsel said.

After refusing the adjournment, the tribunal, which was only due to hear the first module of the appeal, went on to dismiss the entire appeal, he said.

Eileen Barrington SC, for the tribunal, said it was perfectly entitled to dismiss the appeal after refusing an adjournment.

Mr Hynes, who did not attend the appeal hearing on March 8th, had known the hearing date and had had enough time to obtain legal representation, she said.

Mr Justice Meenan has reserved his decision.