Independent TD Michael Lowry has been subjected to “unprecedented” State scrutiny for 20 years and his prosecution on tax charges contrasts with failure to charge even one Ansbacher account holder, the High Court has heard.
An article alleging Mr Lowry passed a note in the Dáil to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, seeking a “crony” appointment, was part of a sustained campaign against him by the Sunday Independent, said Patrick Treacy, counsel for Mr Lowry.
There was also an “utterly wrong” and “deeply humiliating” search, involving eight Revenue officials, of Mr Lowry’s Tipperary home, which included going through his bedroom, clothing, and cutlery, counsel said.
Mr Lowry was not home at the time and a woman in the house went into hiding, believing the team were burglars, said Mr Treacy. When found in the bedroom, she was “very upset”. Details of that search were wrongly disclosed to the media, he added.
When a warrant was sought authorising that search, the district court was not told the application arose from a complaint made to the Criminal Assets Bureau in February 2013 by Elaine Byrne, said Mr Treacy.
Ms Byrne was then a journalist with the Sunday Independent and her complaint concerned material in the ‘Lowry tapes’, a recording of a purported conversation in 2004 between Mr Lowry and Omagh accountant Kevin Phelan.
On these and other grounds, it was oppressive and “utterly unfair” for the DPP to continue with Mr Lowry’s prosecution and the court should halt it, he told Mr Justice Seamus Noonan.
Mr Treacy was continuing his arguments in Mr Lowry’s judicial review challenge aimed at halting his forthcoming trial over alleged tax offences. The DPP previously secured an order transferring the trial from Tipperary to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The trial remains stayed pending the High Court case.
Remy Farrell, for the DPP, will begin opposing arguments today.
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