A car dealer alleged to be giving the Revenue the "runaround" in its efforts to recover a €4.95 million judgment obtained 10 years ago has been warned by the president of the High Court: "The time for games is over".
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he "frankly did not believe" John Alex Kane's insistence he had not entered last March onto lands near Granard, Co Longford in breach of undertakings to the court.
There is “prima facie evidence” from a security agent of seeing Mr Kane departing the lands on March 28th last, amounting to contempt of Mr Kane’s undertakings, the judge found. The judge also said “tax returns” provided by Mr Kane last month were “manifestly not correct”.
Material from the Revenue “effectively torpedoed” Mr Kane’s claim that he was in 2017 an employee of a company the court was previously told was a “concoction” dreamed up to facilitate him in dealing in cars, he said.
The judge has given Mr Kane two weeks to answer the Revenue’s claims of also breaching an undertaking concerning the tax returns before deciding whether he should be jailed for contempt.
The “torturous and tiresome” litigation concerning Mr Kane, dating back to 2009, was supposed to have been brought to an end with undertakings given as part of an agreement between Mr Kane and the Revenue of November 2018, he said.
That agreement provided that Myles Kirby, a receiver appointed by the Revenue to recover under the July 2009 €4.97 million judgment entered against Mr Kane, will not pursue possession of Mr Kane’s family home if Mr Kane pays €450,000 to the Revenue.
Deter and intimidate
Mr Kane has made various payments as agreed and is to make a final payment of €120,000 in November. Mr Kirby alleges Mr Kane is in contempt of other undertakings under the agreement, including not to interfere with efforts to sell lands and to file tax returns for periods from January 2017 and not form any limited companies for 10 years.
On Wednesday, Gary McCarthy SC, instructed by Ivor Fitzpatrick Solicitors, for Mr Kirby, said the receiver’s application was to jail Mr Kane for contempt of undertakings not to enter onto lands and file tax returns. Mr Kirby believes Mr Kane is involved in a campaign to deter and intimidate purchasers of the lands which involved breaking locks on lands, putting up flags and laminated notices, counsel said. A window was also smashed in the home of an intended purchaser.
Mr Kane, representing himself, denied contempt and denied he was on lands at Willsbrook, Co Longford, on March 28th last as alleged. He accepted he was late in filing tax returns but said he had filed on June 17th last. He said he had worked for another man in 2017 but was working for himself in 2018, has children in college and a lot of debt.
Earlier, the judge directed the release from custody of Seamus Kane, a brother of John Alex Kane, after Seamus Kane gave sworn undertakings not to enter on or interfere with the lands at issue. Seamus Kane was sent to custody a week ago after admitting he had gone onto the lands in contempt of undertakings given by him last December.
He said his entry was to cut grass, he was not in his right mind at the time due to alcohol, and apologised. The judge adjourned for a week a final ruling on the committal application, saying he wanted to hear from a doctor concerning a medical report produced by Mr Kane, which stated he had alcoholism and depression, is on medication and doing well.
The judge voiced “misgivings” about the report, including it appeared to be a photocopy and contained misspellings. On Wednesday, the doctor told the judge he wrote the report, it was genuine and not a copy. He agreed there were misspellings and said those probably arose because he was busy at the time.
Having heard the evidence and submissions, Mr Justice Kelly accepted Mr Kane’s undertakings and apology and directed his release from custody but warned he will be jailed for “a long time” if there is any further breach of the undertakings.