English solicitor finally attends tribunal after summons served


MORIARTY TRIBUNAL:THE MORIARTY tribunal held a surprise short hearing yesterday morning attended by an English solicitor, Christopher Vaughan, on whom a summons to attend at the tribunal “forthwith” had been served shortly before the sitting.

Mr Vaughan, who lives in England and has declined earlier requests to give evidence, was not called to give evidence. The tribunal was adjourned to a date to be arranged, so that Mr Vaughan could organise legal representation and interested parties could arrange for their legal representatives to be present.

In a brief comment to the tribunal, Mr Vaughan said he was “content for this morning’s hearing just to be adjourned to a date to be agreed”.

Mr Vaughan acted as solicitor for the purchasers in a number of property transactions in the UK that have been investigated by the tribunal. These are transactions in Cheadle and Mansfield with which the tribunal has been told the former government minister Michael Lowry was involved, and a transaction in Doncaster which the tribunal has been told belonged solely to businessman Denis O’Brien.

Solicitor Paul Meagher told Mr Justice Michael Moriarty that he was replacing William Fry solicitors as legal representative of Mr O’Brien.

He said he was not representing Mr Vaughan.

Mr Meagher said it was he who had informed the tribunal on Wednesday in writing that Mr Vaughan was travelling to Dublin “for the purpose of assisting me and our legal team in preparing detailed replying submissions to your provisional findings of November 18th, and . . . that I wanted to try and establish whether Mr Vaughan would be willing and available to attend the tribunal to give evidence.”

When Mr Meagher said Mr Vaughan was to meet with members of the tribunal at 8.30am yesterday morning “to deal with the provisional findings where Mr Vaughan is referred to”, tribunal counsel Jerry Healy SC interrupted and said there should be no references made to the provisional findings, which were confidential.

Mr Healy said that following the communication from Mr Meagher, the tribunal had contacted Mr Vaughan’s solicitor in England and requested that he attend at the tribunal. Mr Vaughan had acceded to that request.

Mr Meagher said he was in consultations when he received a call from the tribunal informing him of a sitting in 15 minutes’ time.