News Courts

Friday 19 September 2014

Man being jailed for contempt falls ill, requires medical attention

Published 15/07/2014 | 17:36

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15/7/2014
An Ambulance leaving the High Court transporting Eugene Costello of Roscommon to hospital for tests - Mr Costello collapsed in court shortly after being told he was to goto jail for contempt of High Court orders.Pic: Colins Courts
An Ambulance leaving the High Court transporting Eugene Costello of Roscommon to hospital for tests - Mr Costello collapsed in court shortly after being told he was to goto jail for contempt of High Court orders.Pic: Colins Courts

A MAN being jailed for contempt of court yesterday took ill and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.

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Mr Justice Brian McGovern yesterday jailed Eugene Costello from Co Roscommon after a receiver, appointed by a lending institution, said its agents were unable to get vacant possession of his land because Mr Costello's cattle remained on the property.

Mr Costello, of Coolfree, Taughmaconnell, Ballinasloe, Co Roscommon, had previously undertaken before the High Court to remove all his livestock from the lands allowing the receiver take possession of 90 acres in the townlands of Coolfree, Rockland and Onagh.

The application to have Mr Costello jailed for contempt was brought by Carlisle Mortgages Ltd who secured an order for possession of the lands in 2006 after Mr Costello defaulted on repayments of loans to him in 2004.

Maurice Lyons was appointed receiver  when Mr Costello failed to satisfy a demand for payment of €1.4m

Yesterday, Mr Justice McGovern, noting the case had been before the courts on previous occasions and that there have been previous undertakings by the defendant, was satisfied Mr Costello was in contempt of court and committed him to prison.

Court orders had to be obeyed the judge said, adding that there would be "anarchy" if such orders are not complied with.

He was committing Mr Costello to prison until such a time that the receiver was able to take vacant possession of the lands, and Mr Costello purged himself of his contempt.

When the judge said he was adjourning the matter for a week, Mr Costello, who denied his livestock were on the lands, appeared to take ill and collapsed.

He received medical attention from paramedics was taken from the Four Court by ambulance to hospital.

The matter came before the court on several occasions. Mr Costello was ordered by the High Court in 2010 to remove his animals from the lands.

Last year, following his failure to remove the animals, the High Court found him in contempt of court. The Supreme Court refused to grant a stay on that order.

Yesterday, Jarlath Ryan Bl for Carlisle, said the case was last before the court on July 1 last when Mr Costello gave an undertaking to remove all his cattle from the land.

Counsel said when the receiver's agents were unable to take possession of the land.  The agents saw 14 cattle, pictures of which were shown to the court, on the lands.

The cattle were left on the lands in order to frustrate and obstruct the receiver, counsel said.

This was in complete contradiction to what Mr Costello had previously told the court. 

Counsel also told the court that after the repossession order was secured  Mr Costello and his wife Geraldine had brought proceedings against his client and others alleging fraud and negligence arising out of the mortgage transaction.

Counsel said that the Costellos had also registered a legal notice on the lands, called a lis pendens, which prevented anyone from selling them pending resolution of the legal matter.

Those proceedings, counsel said, were "utterly spurious" and were done with the purpose of frustrating the order for possession. His client wants the court to have the Costello's proceedings and the lis pendens notice struck out.

Mr Costello who represented himself, told the court there were no cattle on the lands.

In a sworn statement previously put before the court he said the lands had been vacant after he had slaughtered and moved cattle.

However animals were put back on the lands, due to restrictions imposed by the Department of Agriculture, after illness was detected in his herd.

He said he was caught in a bind by the committal order which he said was being used to put him and his family under intolerable pressure.

He also told the court that he was prepared to take whatever steps were required to remedy the situation.

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