Struck-off solicitor Michael Lynn loses latest legal challenge

Lynn to stand trial next year for alleged theft of nearly €30m after extradition from Brazil

Former solicitor Michael Lynn on his way to court after arriving back in Ireland from Brazil in March 2018. File photograph: The Irish Times

Former solicitor Michael Lynn on his way to court after arriving back in Ireland from Brazil in March 2018. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

Struck-off solicitor Michael Lynn has lost his latest legal challenge ahead of a trial next year for alleged theft of almost €30 million.

Mr Lynn (50) of Carlton Square, Maynooth, Co Kildare, is due to stand trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court next year on 21 counts of stealing the money from seven financial institutions.

In two of the sample charges, Mr Lynn is accused of stealing €4.1 million from Irish Nationwide on April 4th, 2007 and €3.6 million from Ulster Bank on October 20th, 2006.

He left Ireland in 2007 but was extradited from Brazil last year after spending 4½ years on remand at the Cotel prison, in northwestern Brazil, as he fought extradition to Ireland.

Ahead of his return to Ireland, Brazilian authorities sought assurances from Ireland that time Mr Lynn spent in prison awaiting extradition would be deducted from any potential prison sentence here and that he would not serve more than 30 years here, if found guilty. The assurances were required as part of the Brazilian extradition process.

‘Absolute certainty’

His lawyers challenged those assurances, arguing that they could not be given due to the separation of powers. Counsel for Mr Lynn, Pádraig Dwyer SC, told the Court of Appeal that a favourable outcome of the case might strengthen Mr Lynn’s attempts to prohibit his upcoming trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

However, dismissing the case on Friday, president of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said it seemed “a matter of absolute certainty” that account will taken of the time Mr Lynn has spent in custody, if found guilty.

Furthermore, he said there was “no possibility whatsoever” of Mr Lynn being required to spend more than 30 years in prison, if found guilty.

He said Brazilian law viewed such a sentence as analogous to cruel and inhuman punishment. But there was no recorded case of anybody being sentenced to more than 30 years in Ireland.

In the “most unlikely event” that were to happen, he said Mr Lynn could appeal. There was also remission to consider and the fact the Executive are entitled to release a prisoner at any stage, the judge said.

‘Robust bloodlust’

The judge said he rejected Mr Lynn’s arguments. Mr Justice John Edwards and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy “fully agreed” with his decision.

A recommendation for free legal aid was granted.

During the hearing, Mr Justice Birmingham said letters sent on behalf of Mr Lynn to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), from a former solicitor, were “intemperate in the extreme ... to put it mildly”.

In one of the letters, a former solicitor of Mr Lynn told the DPP that his client was an “innocent man” and the State were trying to “nail Mr Lynn” with “robust bloodlust”.

It wasn’t the sort of language one finds in correspondence from an officer of the court, said Mr Justice Birmingham.

Counsel for the DPP, Seán Gillane SC, submitted that Mr Lynn’s legal challenge was “moot” or pointless. If it wasn’t “moot”, it was “unstateable”, “misconceived” and “contrived”.