Des Richardson loses legal challenge to Mahon tribunal findings

Correcting errors of fact made by tribunal is not a function of court, says judge

Des Richardson: said the tribunal findings were “wholly erroneous” on the basis he was never asked during examination by tribunal counsel to account for the origin of funds in an account known as the Roevin account. Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said she accepted there was a mistake in the tribunal findings relating to him, but it was up to the tribunal, not the court, to correct that. Photograph: Eric Luke

Des Richardson: said the tribunal findings were “wholly erroneous” on the basis he was never asked during examination by tribunal counsel to account for the origin of funds in an account known as the Roevin account. Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said she accepted there was a mistake in the tribunal findings relating to him, but it was up to the tribunal, not the court, to correct that. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Businessman and former Fianna Fáil fundraiser Des Richardson has lost his High Court challenge to certain findings of the Mahon tribunal relating to him.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said she accepted as a matter of fact there was a mistake in the tribunal findings relating to Mr Richardson but it was up to the tribunal, not the court, to correct that.

The finding related to an assertion Mr Richardson had claimed not to have any knowledge of the source of IR£39,000. That error of fact was replicated in another paragraph of its findings where the tribunal said it found it incredible Mr Richardson was unable to account for the origins of the funds in an account. That appeared to be a mistake of fact, the judge said.

She had no doubt the tribunal would he be happy to correct the error, she said.

Mr Richardson had claimed the tribunal findings were “wholly erroneous” on the basis he was never asked during examination by tribunal counsel to account for the origin of funds in an account known as the Roevin account.

The businessman gave evidence over several days to the tribunal in respect of its investigations into the finances of former taoiseach Bertie Ahern. The tribunal heard funds from a company called Roevin Ireland Ltd were in 1993 used to buy a bank draft paid to Mr Ahern.

In his judicial review proceedings, Mr Richardson, Serpentine Avenue, Dublin 4, wanted two sections of the final report of the Tribunal of Inquiry in Certain Planning Matters and Payments concerning him quashed.

In her judgment, Ms Justice Dunne said at the heart of the application was an error of fact and an error within jurisdiction which was not amenable to judicial review, she said.

This was not a case where it could be said Mr Richardson had placed all his cards on the table in relation to the application to the court, she also said.

The description given by Mr Richardson in relation to soliciting funds from Padraig O’Connor of NCB Stockbrokers and in relation to the manner in which the sum of IR£5,000 was obtained to buy the bank draft did not represent fully the findings of the tribunal in respect of those issues, she said.