October hearing of bank bid to jail couple
AN APPLICATION by Bank of Ireland to have solicitor Brian O’Donnell and his wife Mary Patricia jailed for an alleged contempt of court will go ahead in early October, a High Court Judge has ruled.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly at the Commercial Court yesterday confirmed that the bank’s application against the couple would go ahead, over what it claimed was the failure of the O’Donnells to comply with an order to provide certain documentation, on October 2nd.
The judge refused an application by the O’Donnells, who were not in court, for an adjournment.
The documents were sought by the bank arising out of answers given by Mr O’Donnell during his five-day examination before the Commercial Court earlier this year about his assets as part of the bank’s bid to enforce a €75 million judgment. The examination arose from the bank obtaining judgment against Mr O’Donnell and his wife last December over loans mainly for property investments.
The bank has separate proceedings contesting claims that the O’Donnell family home at Gorse Hill, Vico Road, Killiney, is owned by the couple’s children via a trust.
Last July, Bank of Ireland obtained permission from the court to bring a motion seeking that the couple be brought before the court and jailed for allegedly being in contempt of the courts.
The judge, who had given the O’Donnells until September 12th to submit a formal reply to the bank’s motion, fixed the hearing for October 2nd.
When the matter yesterday was mentioned before the court, Paul Gardiner SC, for the bank said the purpose of the application was that Mr and Mrs O’Donnell, who have applied to the British courts to be declared bankrupt, provide the bank with the documentation that it required. Mr Gardiner said Bank of Ireland had not got the material it was looking for.
Lawyers representing the couple, now living at Barton Street, London, asked Mr Justice Kelly to adjourn the case so that they could respond to the bank’s allegation of contempt.
In refusing the O’Donnells’ application, the judge said the couple had not availed of the time they were given to respond to the bank’s application. The matter should go ahead as planned.
The application was one of several related cases involving the O’Donnells, their four adult children and Bank of Ireland mentioned before the judge yesterday.
Mr Justice Kelly adjourned the hearing of the bank’s action against the couple and their two adult sons for allegedly conspiring to put in place an asset-stripping scheme involving properties valued at €124 million and £130 million.
In response, the O’Donnells brought a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear that application. That matter was due to be heard on October 10th.
However, it was adjourned to October 18th after Mr Justice Kelly was told that the O’Donnells had not filed any legal documentation in relation to their motion within the timeline set out by the court last July.
Mr Justice Kelly was critical of the O’Donnells, who had acted “with a sense of entitlement” that the business of the court should be conducted “on their whims”. He also said that an apology over their failure to comply with court orders had to be “wrung out” of the O’Donnells’ legal representatives.