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Friday 31 October 2014

'Outrageous!' declares loser of court battle with former landlady

Published 11/12/2012 | 14:55

A MAN on the losing side in a bitter argument at the District Court with his former landlady was taken into custody after he called Judge Gerard Haughton's decision in his case 'outrageous'.

Bernadette Judge, owner of a house at Knocknaskeagh in The Harrow, and her former tenant Michael Fortune, now living at 58 Madeira Woods, in Enniscorthy town were both at Wednesday's District Court sitting to deal with an application brought under the Police Property Act.

Garda Michael Dunne brought items to court which Ms. Judge claimed had been taken from her property, while Fortune insisted that they rightly belonged to him. Detailed evidence was heard on a previous occasion.

Back at the courthouse in Gorey last week, the Garda allowed Judge Gerard Haughton to see for himself a pair of bedside lamps, a large patio umbrella, an electric powered radiator, a two-piece fishing rod and a trolley. A pair of drills and the accompanying bits were not on display because the case holding them had gone missing.

Hostilities between the two parties resumed, with Fortune producing a photo of lamps while Ms. Judge showed an image taken on a photo phone. The court was told that the trolley was of a make on sale in Lidl for less than €20.

Making his decision on the balance of probabilities, he Judge Haughton ruled that all the property should be restored to Bernadette Judge. This immediately prompted Michael Fortune to call on the judge to step down. As he made his way towards the door of the court, he declared repeatedly and loudly 'it's outrageous'. He called Ms. Judge a ' tyrant'.

The judge ordered Gardaí to take him into custody and he was detained in the cells while the court moved on to other matters. He was later produced once more and apologised for what he said, though indicating his intention to take the matter on appeal to a higher court.

The judge said he was entitled to make such an appeal. He told Fortune that the decision of the court was made in the belief that it was the correct one.

'I won't accept abuse for doing what I believe to be correct,' said Judge Haughton before telling the disgruntled man that he was now free to leave the court.

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