Non-denominational church members ignoring court orders in receivership case

Victory Christian Fellowship members obstructing receivers from taking possession of properties, court told

Members of a non-denominational church have ignored court orders and are continuing to obstruct bank-appointed receivers from taking possession of three of their properties in Dublin, the High Court has heard.

Chartered accountants Paul McCann and Patrick Dillon were appointed as receivers over three properties of the Victory Christian Fellowship by Bank of Scotland after the church failed to satisfy a demand for €18 million in respect of unpaid loans.

The receivers claim they are being prevented taking possession of the properties at Kilmacud House, Kilmacud Road, Upper Stillorgan, Co Dublin; Westland Row; and Firhouse Road, Tallaght.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy yesterday directed several church members should attend court next week after being informed the congregation are staging a sit-in and had been told the receiver's actions are "not legal in the name of Jesus".

Restraining interference
Mr Justice Séan Ryan last week granted temporary injunctions against the Trustees of the Victory Christian Fellowship requiring them to hand over possession of the premises to the receivers and restraining interference with the receivers carrying out their duties.The orders were against the Trustees, Gerry Byrne, Brendan Hade, his wife Shelia and their sons Niall and Brian Hade.

Ignoring the orders
Yesterday, James Doherty, for the receivers, told Ms Justice Laffoy his clients remained unable to take possession of the properties and the defendants were ignoring the orders. There was no appearance by the defendants, counsel added. Counsel said security staff hired by the receivers recorded one of the trustees telling a congregation at one of the properties the receivers actions were "not legal in the name of Jesus". A rota was also organised for members to sit in at the premises, he said.

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Members of the public were attending services at the premises, which raised health and safety issues and insurance on the buildings was also in question, counsel said. The receivers were now seeking the defendants attachment and committal to prison and while such a step was “draconian”, there was no other way to get the defendants to come to court, he said.

Ms Justice Laffoy said the receivers had been given “the run around” while attempting to serve defendants and granted orders for attachment of the defendants to appear before the court.