Lowry bid to halt tax trial permitted

Independent TD Michael Lowry was yesterday granted permission by the High Court to bring a challenge aimed at preventing his trial before Dublin Circuit Court on alleged tax offences from going ahead.

Lowry bid to halt tax trial permitted

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said he was satisfied to grant the former communications minister permission to bring his challenge on all six grounds advanced. The judge said Mr Lowry, who was present in court, had made an arguable case as to why his upcoming trial should be halted.

The judge said the full hearing of the action should be expedited, and adjourned the matter for two weeks. The judge also placed a stay, pending further order of the court, on Mr Lowry’s trial from proceeding.

Mr Lowry is facing four charges that he allegedly filed incorrect tax returns in 2003 and 2007. He denies all charges.

His trial was transferred from Tipperary to Dublin on the application of the DPP. The TD claims his prosecution is extraordinary because it concerns a payment he had both declared and paid.

Mr Lowry, aged 60, of Glenreigh, Holycross, Co Tipperary, says he has no outstanding tax liability and is being treated unfairly and selectively. He also contends he is entitled to prohibition orders on grounds of alleged prejudicial publicity and alleged wrongful release of taxpayer information into the public domain.

Among the grounds for judicial review, it is alleged there has been a wrongful manipulation of the criminal justice process and Mr Lowry’s right to a fair trial has been breached.

He also claims the transfer of the trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court breaches his rights — and amounts to him being punished for success as a politician in Tipperary.

Mr Lowry, represented by Patrick Treacy, also argues that the trial should be halted because of media reports in relation to a handwritten note the TD sent to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The note, which was given to the Taoiseach via an usher, asked Mr Kenny to consider reappointing Mr Lowry’s former PR adviser, Valerie O’Reilly, to the board of the National Transport Authority.

Counsel said the manner in which the note made its way into the public domain, in advance of Mr Lowry’s trial on alleged tax offences, is prejudicial to his client and amounted to “a wrongful intermeddling in the criminal process”. Counsel said the article made Mr Lowry look “sexist and derogatory towards women”.

Mr Lowry’s trial is listed for mention before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.

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