Court fixes Lawlor case for this month

 

The High Court has fixed December 30th and 31st for the hearing of proceedings which could result in Dublin West TD Mr Liam Lawlor being jailed for failing to co-operate with the Flood tribunal.

The matter was referred to the High Court last week by the tribunal after its sole member, Mr Justice Flood, stood down Mr Lawlor as a witness.

A notice of motion seeking the attachment or committal of the former Fianna Fail TD has already been served on Mr Lawlor by tribunal lawyers.

When the matter came before Mr Justice Smyth yesterday, Mr John Rogers SC, for Mr Lawlor, said papers from the tribunal in connection with the committal proceedings filled at least 10 files. Mr Lawlor's solicitor, Mr Brian Delahunt, would be going away for a week on New Year's Eve and it would be a logistical impossibility to begin preparations for the hearing in early January.

Mr Rogers said Mr Frank Clarke SC, for the tribunal, might wish to see the response on behalf of Mr Lawlor and make a judgment on it. Time would be needed for this. He suggested the matter be adjourned for mention only in early January.

Mr Clarke said the purpose of the High Court order was not to punish Mr Lawlor but to ensure compliance with the tribunal's investigation. Mr Lawlor had a great deal of time to put himself in a position to assist the tribunal. It seemed Mr Lawlor was seeking more time to deal with matters which should have already been dealt with.

He said if there was to be a clear indication of compliance by Mr Lawlor it could be that the committal proceedings could be adjourned to see if such compliance materialised. Most of the exhibits in the papers supplied to Mr Lawlor's side were documents discovered by the TD or transcripts and did not contain new material.