Woman in property row is ill, court hears


A woman claiming an interest in the sale by her brother of a €47 million property in south Dublin is suffering from a stress-related illness, the High Court was told yesterday.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly adjourned until today proceedings by businessman Mr Tom Roche to allow the solicitor acting for his sister, Ms Eleanor Roche, and her son, Mr Michael Wymes jnr, to contact them and see if he could get instructions from them.

Both Ms Roche and Mr Wymes were said to be suffering form stress-related illness.

Mr Justice Kelly said if neither party could give instructions then he might have to consider an application for one or other of them to be taken into wardship and the court would then have to make a decision on the issues on their behalf. He hoped that would not be necessary because, it seemed to him, there was little between the parties.

The solicitor has been asked to discover if either Ms Roche or Mr Wymes can give instructions about a claim being made by Ms Roche against the Blackrock property.

Mr Roche has issued proceedings against his sister and sought a declaration that she had no interest in the property at "Chesterfield", Cross Avenue.

The court was told Ms Roche, who left a Dublin hospital on Tuesday, was suffering from stress and her son, Mr Wymes was said to be in a London psychiatric hospital being treated for stress. Ms Roche has authorised her son to act on her behalf under a power of attorney.

Last week the court heard the sale of the property had been due to close on November 30th and had now been deferred. The purchasers had agreed to a revised closing date but that was dependent on the claim being made on behalf of Ms Roche against the purchasers being withdrawn or the matter decided by the court.

Yesterday, Mr David Barniville, for Mr Roche, said it appeared Mr Wymes wrote to one of the purchasers, Mr Crofton, on Tuesday confirming that neither his mother nor himself was seeking to hold Mr Crofton or any company associated with him liable in respect of any matter connected with the property or related to the sale or development of the property and that no action would be taken against Mr Crofton.

There had still been no withdrawal of an interest in the property, counsel said. The purchasers required a declaration from the court that Ms Roche had no interest in the property and this would not prejudice any claim she might make against her brother personally.

Mr Wymes had last Tuesday night telephoned Mr Roche and indicated that in principle he felt they could agree to a declaration which would allow the sale to proceed but which preserved his mother's claim against Mr Roche. However, yesterday morning, Mr Roche had received a text from Mr Wymes that it might be better if the matter was dealt with by the court.

Mr Barniville said they had drawn up two declarations and hoped the second would meet the concerns of the purchaser and the concerns of Ms Roche. They had yesterday received a lengthy affidavit from Mr Wymes which appeared to again to put everything at issue.

Mr Maurice Dockrell, for Ms Roche and Mr Wymes, said he had only come into the matter this week. It had been extremely difficult to take instructions because Ms Roche had taken ill last Friday and Mr Wymes was receiving treatment in a London hospital.

Mr Dockrell said he had not had an opportunity to consider the second declaration offered on behalf of Mr Roche. While it might meet the concerns of his clients, he would need to take instructions.

Mr Dockrell said that he understood Mr Wymes had a stress-related problem, was in a London psychiatric hospital and it was unlikely he could give his solicitor instructions before the new year. The completion of the sale of the property was fixed for before February 18th.

Mr Justice Kelly said Mr Wymes had written a well drafted, cogent and clear letter to the property purchaser on December 14th and he could not understand why Mr Wymes could not now give instruction until the new year unless there had been some extraordinary change in his condition overnight.

Mr Dockrell said they had not been able to take instructions from Ms Roche. She had fallen ill last Friday and was only released from hospital on Tuesday night.

Mr Justice Kelly said he would list the matter for today.