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Michael Lynn challenges Department over refusal to pay certain costs during criminal trial

Jailed former solicitor Michael Lynn has brought a High Court challenge against the Department of Justice’s refusal to pay his lawyers for certain works carried out during the course of his lengthy criminal trial.

Lynn is currently serving a 5 and a half year sentence at Mountjoy Prison after he was found guilty earlier this year of stealing €17.9 million from six financial institutions by taking out multiple mortgages on the same properties.

Lynn, with an address at Redcross, Co Wicklow, claims the Department has refused to pay costs incurred by his solicitors when reviewing thousands of pages of documents in his criminal trial.

The process in question is known as ‘Review of Disclosure.’

Lynn claims that the trial, which was a retrial after a jury hearing his prosecution in 2022failed to reach a verdict, involved voluminous disclosure of thousands of documents and vast amounts of financial material from financial institutions.

It is estimated that the material took some 150,000 hours to review. Lynn, the court also heard, had a different set of solicitors represent him in the retrial as the previous solicitors were unable to act in the retrial.

Lynn claims the refusal to pay these costs regarding the review of disclosure amounts to a breach to his constitutional rights to a fair trial, and his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Represented in his High Court Judicial Review action by Mark Lynam SC instructed by Mulholland Law, Lynn seeks reliefs including an order quashing the Departments refusal, and that the matter be remitted back for a fresh consideration.

The DPP is a notice party to the action.

Counsel said that thousands of additional material, over 9000 pages of documents, that was not included in the batch of documents disclosed during the first trial had to be reviewed as part of the retrial.

In addition a large number of copies of documents supporting the defence case also had to be produced during the retrial.

Counsel said that the Department has also refused to pay for the costs of his client’s solicitor having to provide some 30 copies of that material.

Counsel said that the Department had said in 2023 during exchanges over the issue that it would not pay for any further review of disclosed materials and that as he is a qualified solicitors Mr Lynn “could review the materials himself.”

Counsel said that was not an appropriate nor rational response to the application to have his costs covered.

Lynn also seeks declarations including that the Department has erred in law and fact and acted irrationally in refusing the applicant’s application.

The matter came before Ms Justice Niamh Hyland on Monday, who granted Lynn’s lawyers permission, on an ex parte basis, to bring his challenge.

The matter will return before the court next month.

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