By Ann O'Loughlin
A Cork solicitor who was convicted of soliciting a person to murder three people has been struck off by order of the High Court.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, made the order against Gary O’Flynn (pictured below), with an address at Hayfield Drive, Whitechurch, Co Cork.
There was no appearance by or on behalf of Mr O’Flynn when the strike-off order was sought today by the Law Society.
Frank Crean BL, for the Society, said the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal had recommended a strike-off order because it could not conceive of a situation where the misconduct could be worse. It was quite clear Mr O'Flynn has brought the profession into disrepute and has done serious damage, he said.
Mr Justice Kelly said misconduct by solicitors happens on a regular basis but this was of "a different order and magnitude" as Mr O'Flynn had been convicted of charges including disohonesty offences and soliciting a person to murder a Garda, a revenue official and a former business partner.
There is no place in the solicitors' profession for a person found guilty of such offences, the judge said. He agreed with a judge of the English courts who had said it was beyond argument a solicitor sentenced to a substantial term of imprisonment should remain on the roll.
Mr O'Flynn, a former Fianna Fáil member of Cork City Council, was previously sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to prison for five years, with the final two years suspended, after pleading guilty to soliciting someone to kill a garda, a Revenue official and an accountant.
His defence counsel described his actions as a fantasy which he allowed to get out of control but from which he eventually pulled back.
O'Flynn had pleaded guilty to three counts of soliciting a man to murder accountant Patrick Sweeney, Revenue official George Ross, and Det Sgt Mary Skehan of the Garda Fraud Squad at Anglesea Street in Cork, on dates between October 2012 and February 2013.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told that a friend of O'Flynn's first alerted gardaí in January 2013 to the solicitor's intention to hire a hit man to murder three people. He believed O'Flynn was capable of carrying out the threat and feared for their lives and gave gardaí a tape on which he could be heard saying he had €10,000 to spend.
At this time, O'Flynn was under investigation for fraud in relation to the issuing of mortgages and all three were known to him as part of this investigation. Gardaí took the threat seriously, warned the intended targets and put a surveillance operation in place in which O'Flynn's friend introduced him in a city hotel to an undercover garda posing as a hit man and gave him a deposit of €1,000.
During a later telephone conversation, O'Flynn told his friend he no longer wanted to go ahead. When his home and offices were searched, his computers revealed searches for "lists of dead gardaí", "murder of gardaí", and for the home address of the two state officials. He was arrested shortly afterwards.
The court was told he had suicidal tendencies after his arrest, has a narcissistic personality and suffers from possible Tourette's syndrome. His depression is under control but he remains a very vulnerable person.
Describing O'Flynn as a very complex person, Judge Sean O'Donnabhain sentenced him to five years in prison and suspended the final two years on condition that O'Flynn keep the peace and good behaviour on his release.
He sentenced him to two and three years respectively on separate charges relating to fraudulently claiming commissions for mortgages and using false accounts. All sentences were to run concurrently.