Monday 21 August 2017

Kean vows to fight 'disappointing' ruling on property deeds of ex-partner

Dolores Corcoran speaking to Gerald Kean Picture: Courtpix
Dolores Corcoran speaking to Gerald Kean Picture: Courtpix

Tim Healy and Kirsty Blake Knox

Solicitor Gerald Kean intends to "fully and vigorously appeal" the High Court's ruling that he was not entitled to give Permanent TSB the title deeds to two properties bought by his ex-girlfriend, Dolores Corcoran.

The High Court found that Mr Kean should not have given the deeds to PTSB in the "teeth" of advice from a solicitor in his office.

Mr Justice Michael Twomey also found that Mr Kean should not have made a "false" statement in a 2014 letter to PTSB that his law firm had issued proceedings against EBS.

Yesterday, Mr Kean said he was "very disappointed with the decision".

"Obviously I would like to take time with my legal team to reflect further on its contents. It is manifestly clear, however, that not alone is it a disappointing result for me, it is a hugely disappointing result for hard-working conveyancing solicitors in Ireland," he said. "I intend to fully and vigorously appeal this case and this matter is by no means over."

Mr Kean hopes "this is a matter which can be set right ultimately".

Gerald Kean Picture: Michael Scully
Gerald Kean Picture: Michael Scully

In its action against Mr Kean, EBS alleged he has failed to return deeds for two properties of Ms Corcoran in Waterford at Hunter's Way, Williamstown,and Portnahully, Carrigeen.

Ms Corcoran owns three properties - Hunter's Way, Portnahully and another at Henrietta Street, Waterford -and had four EBS loans secured on them.

Due to the fact that one loan was not re-financed with PTSB, and it was secured on all three properties, EBS has sought return of the title deeds for Hunter's Way and Portnahully from Mr Kean, since late 2008.

Mr Justice Twomey said the initial problem in this case arose from a "simple human error" by a solicitor in Mr Kean's office.

That lead to Mr Kean being bound by "double" undertakings - to give PTSB a first charge over Hunter's Way and Portnahully and at the same time return to EBS the deeds of those two properties because one of its loans secured on them was not redeemed.

EBS had asked the court to declare that Mr Kean's failure to return the deeds amounted to professional misconduct.

However, the judge said he had no jurisdiction to do so because such matters were, at first instance, for the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

EBS is entitled to orders directing Mr Kean to inform PTSB he was not entitled to give it the title deeds and directing him to retrieve those deeds and return them to EBS, he ruled.

The judge told Andrew Fitzpatrick SC, for EBS, he would address costs of the 10-day case and other issues on May 26.

Gerald Kean was sued under his accountable trust receipt (ATR) undertaking given to EBS in 2008 concerning deeds over properties owned by his client, Dolores Corcoran, and mortgaged to EBS as security for loans to her.

An ATR means a solicitor undertakes to return title deeds to the bank on demand or clear all loans secured by the deeds.

Mr Kean gave the undertaking to get the deeds for Ms Corcoran's planned refinancing of her EBS loans with PTSB.

Irish Independent

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