The Court of Appeal has refused to pause bankruptcy adjudications for Wexford businessman Alan Hynes and his estranged wife Noreen Hynes.
The former couple were adjudicated as bankrupts by the High Court last October on foot of petitions from John and Bridget Atkinson, who obtained judgment against them in 2009 for more than €200,000.
A tribunal of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board in 2015 excluded Mr Hynes from the Institute of Chartered Accountants following a hearing that was sparked by complaints from investors who lost more than €18 million on his failed property development ventures.
Mr Hynes and firms he directed have been the subject of extensive legal actions. He is awaiting the outcome of a liquidator’s December 2021 application seeking to have him disqualified from holding a directorship. Liquidator Myles Kirby told the High Court the former accountant was the “most dishonest director” he had encountered.
In a judgment on Friday, the Court of Appeal’s Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington dismissed Ms Hynes’s application for the bankruptcy to be quashed or paused. The judge noted Mr Hynes did not appear at the hearing, so his appeal was dismissed in an earlier oral ruling.
The Atkinsons’ petition sought the €200,000 sum plus interest of more than €90,000 against Mr and Ms Hynes.
Prior to the adjudications, the High Court’s Mr Justice Mark Sanfey considered whether to give Mr and Ms Hynes an opportunity to recover their position, given they said they were likely to come into money that would cover the debt payment.
Ms Hynes submitted that she anticipated her protracted litigation against a solicitors’ firm would resolve in her favour. Mr Justice Sanfey suggested the resolution of the 2013 action might not be as immediate or straightforward as Ms Hynes believed.
During the appeal, Ms Justice Pilkington said, Ms Hynes, representing herself, reiterated that delaying the adjudication’s effect would ensure she could be in a position to discharge her indebtedness.
She pointed to her one-third ownership of a substantial property that was now “sale agreed”, but this factor was not raised before the High Court, said the judge.
Mr and Ms Atkinson, of Glenbrien, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, submitted that the High Court and the Court of Appeal, in considering an initial pre-appeal hearing request, were correct to refuse a stay on the adjudication orders.
Ms Justice Pilkington said Ms Hynes did not advance anything that would warrant overturning the High Court’s conclusions, including that Mr and Ms Atkinson satisfied the criteria under the 1988 Bankruptcy Act.
Mr Justice Seamus Noonan and Ms Justice Nuala Butler agreed with the judgment and the decision to dismiss Ms Hynes’s appeal.