Nappies, pineapple and milk bottle thrown from apartment balcony, court hears

Family of six in emergency accommodation after losing home due to alleged anti-social behaviour

The judge said the family was in an unfortunate situation, which had come about due to the parents’ behaviour.

The judge said the family was in an unfortunate situation, which had come about due to the parents’ behaviour.

 

A couple with four children who had to leave an apartment complex operated by a housing association due to their alleged anti-social behaviour are now in emergency accommodation, the High Court has heard.

Sophia Housing Association had last August brought proceedings against Derek Smith and Elena Hinchon, who is pregnant, then tenants at an apartment complex run by the association at Cork Street in Dublin.

The High Court granted injunctions requiring the couple and their family to vacate the apartment and preventing them intimidating or threatening the association’s staff or agents.

The couple had lived in an apartment on an upper floor of the complex since 2016 and the proceedings arose due to their anti-social behaviour including, threatening members of the association’s staff working on the site.

In separate incidents, items such as nappies, a bottle of milk and a pineapple were thrown from the balcony of their apartment, the court had heard. Security staff had to be hired to protect people at the complex and gardaí were called over the incidents.

The association had said it provides accommodation for those on the margins of society and had no choice but to seek the injunctions in the interests of health and safety of its staff, the public and other residents of the complex.

The association had also obtained an adjudication from the Residential Tenancies Board requiring them to vacate the apartment, which was not appealed.

The matter returned before the court on several occasions since, including to hear attachment and committal proceedings brought over the couple’s initial refusal to leave the property.

The couple, who had represented themselves, denied the claims and Mr Smith insisted what was being said about him was “lies.”

They had agreed last week to leave the premises but Barra Faughnan BL, for the Association, told the court on Friday the family had come back there.

Staff were told by the couple they were guests of other people living in another apartment in the complex, counsel said.

The defendants had no entitlement to be on the premises and were in breach of the spirit of undertakings previously given to the court, he said.

Counsel said his client did not want to see anyone jailed but it wanted the couple out of the premises.

Mr Smith, who was brought to the court by gardaí, said he was prepared to stay away from the premises.

He said they had left clothing and other items with their former neighbours in the apartment complex and required those.

The family is currently staying in emergency accommodation provided by the local authority and had to move from place to place every night, which presented a difficulty dealing with their possessions, he said.

They had spent a night in a room provided for them that was so small there was no space for their child’s pram, he added.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello expressed concern about the family’s situation.

They were not like a snail that could move from place to place with their house on their back, she said.

After she asked whether enquiries could be made about storage of their belongings, there was a brief adjournment.

Mr Faughnan then told the judge it was agreed the couple could return to the complex and collect their items over the next few days.

His client would provide the family with some money towards the cost of storing their personal items, he said.

The judge welcomed that “generous” offer by the association. Addressing Mr Smith, she said, while he and his family were in an unfortunate situation, it had come about due to the couple’s behaviour.

The case was adjourned to later this month.