Lawyers for the Dublin West TD, Liam Lawlor, have told a High Court judge that their client believes the judge may have a conflict of interest in hearing the case. Mr Lawlor's team produced a new affidavit in which Mr Lawlor says that last Wednesday evening he discovered documents which showed that ten years ago, Mr Justice Thomas Smyth advised a company called Green Property. Mr Justice Smyth was acting in his capacity as a Senior Counsel at the time. Green Property was objecting to the rezoning of land at Quarryvale in West Dublin. They felt it would conflict with their own development plans in the area. Mr Lawlor says that this company is an inevitable protagonist in the Flood Tribunal.
Mr Justice Smyth said that he had no recollection of having done so; he said that he had seen the documents and “there it was”. The proceedings, which could result in the jailing of Mr Lawlor, were delayed as the court waited for the new affidavit. Mr Lawlor was referred to the court by the chairman of the Flood Tribunal to determine whether or not he is in contempt of court. Mr Justice Flood believes that Mr Lawlor has breached an order compelling him to produce financial documents to the Tribunal.
Liam Lawlor's difficult few days in the witness box at the Flood Tribunal came to an abrupt end when he refused to answer questions in relation to credit cards. He did not see this issue as relevant to the Tribunal. However, Mr Justice Flood begged to differ and said that there had been such negative input in clarifying any aspect of discovery with any degree of credibility that it was now a matter for the High Court. If he is judged to have been in contempt of court, Mr Justice Smyth could exercise the ultimate option open to him of sending Mr Lawlor to jail. Proceedings at the High Court have now adjourned until tomorrow.