Challenge | 

David Hall launches legal bid to remove inspector appointed to probe homeless charity

Businessman Mr Hall claims that the investigation is flawed because of the strained personal history he has with one of the investigators
David Hall: Picture: Collins

David Hall: Picture: Collins

Aodhan O' Faolain

Well known businessman David Hall has launched a High Court challenge aimed at removing an inspector appointed by the Charities Regulatory Authority to probe the affairs of the controversial charity, Inner City Helping Homeless.

Mr Hall, the former chairman of ICHH claims that the investigation is flawed because of the strained personal history he has with one of the two persons, Mr Thomas Mulholland who is the authorities' Director of Compliance and Enforcement, appointed to conduct the investigation.

Mr Hall claims that the investigation process must be conducted in a fair, impartial and independent manner.

He claims that Mr Mulholland was an active investigator of ICHH and was integral in the authorities' decision to launch a formal investigation of governance at the charity.

In his action Mr Hall wants the investigation into ICHH's affairs, halted and re-initiated without the involvement of Mr Mulholland.

Mr Hall claims that Mr Mulholland has adopted and expressed views about matters that are the subject of the investigation.

It is also claimed that in correspondence Mr Mulholland has been highly critical of the manner Mr Hall carried out his duties, which has resulted in a strained personal history between the two.

The appointment of Mr Mulholland as an inspector, it is claimed, has resulted in a breach of Mr Hall's Constitutional right to natural justice and fair procedures.

The outcome of the investigation into ICHH could result in Mr Hall being sanctioned should there be any adverse findings in relation to his conduct.

Mr Hall had been the chair of ICHH which collapsed, and was eventually wound-up last year, following sexual assault allegations made against its CEO and founder Anthony Flynn.

Mr Flynn was suspended by the charity, before being found dead at his home due to an apparent suicide in August 2021. He had been under investigation by gardaí in relation to claims made by several men that they had been sexually assaulted by Mr Flynn.

Shortly afterwards Mr Hall resigned as chair of the ICHH's board due to threats to his personal safety.

The court also heard that before he died Mr Flynn had allegedly told persons that his suspension on full pay from the charity was due to a desire by Mr Hall to take over the charity.

In October 2021, after a liquidator was appointed to the charity, the Charities Regulatory Authority launched a formal investigation into ICHH and appointed two persons as statutory inspectors to conduct the investigation into the charity's governance.

Arising out his concerns over Mr Mulholland, Mr Hall has launched judicial review proceedings against The Charities Regulatory Authority.

The inspectors Mr Mulholland, and Corne Mouton, a chartered accountant and partner with Mazars are also respondents to the proceedings.

Represented by Paul McGarry SC, with Jack Tchrakian Bl instructed by Clark Hill solicitors, he seeks various orders and declarations including an order quashing Mr Mulholland's appointment as an inspector.

Counsel said that Mr Mulholland had been asked to recuse himself as acting as an inspector and asked the authority to appoint new inspector.

However, that request, nor concerns expressed by Mr Hall has not been addressed by the respondents, counsel added.

Mr Hall also seeks an order quashing the decision of the inspectors to continue to carry out the investigation. Mr Hall also seeks various declarations including that the investigation has been carried out in a manner that contravenes natural justice and violates fair procedures.

He further wants the court to put a stay on the investigation until the High Court action has been determined. Mr McGarry told court that Mr Hall has been asked to attend a meeting with the inspectors later this week.

The matter came before Mr Justice Kerida Naidoo, on an ex-parte basis, during Monday's vacation sitting of the High Court.

The judge said that while Mr Hall's legal team had done nothing wrong in bringing the matter before a vacation court, it was he said something that should be brought during the legal term.

The judge adjourned the matter to Wednesday's sitting of the court.


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