Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Judge orders the return of tractors seized by Gardai to agricultural contractor

A Judge has ordered the return of two tractors which Gardaí had seized in Ballymote to a County Fermanagh agricultural contractor.
A Judge has ordered the return of two tractors which Gardaí had seized in Ballymote to a County Fermanagh agricultural contractor.

Court Reporter

A Judge has ordered the return of two tractors which Gardaí had seized in Ballymote to a County Fermanagh agricultural contractor, the Sligo Champion reports.

However, Judge Kevin Kilrane told the contractor, Charles Mavitty of Rosscarn, Culkey, Enniskillen that he had "definite views of your involvement in all of this and they are not good ones."

The Judge went on to praise the investigating Garda, Detective Garda Eugene O'Sullivan from the Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit attached to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation at Harcourt Square in Dublin.

Judge Kilrane congratulated Det Garda O'Sullivan whom he said had "pursued this matter in the most diligent manner. It was so tricky from the word go here."

Before Sligo District Court last Thursday was an application brought by Mr Mavitty under the Police Property Act seeking the return of two New Holland tractors.

Det Garda O'Sullivan told the court that on August 11th 2016 a search was conducted at the home of Noel Muldoon at Cluid, Ballymote by the Criminal Assets Bureau and other Gardaí.

Mr Muldoon was asked about one particular tractor and he stated that it belonged to a Charles Mavitty from Enniskillen.

Ms Laura Spellman, solicitor (for Mavitty) said he operated an agri-business and had a number of machinery, the majority of which was under finance.

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He had negotiated the sale of one of the New Holland tractors and the lease of the other to Noel Muldoon senior.

Witness said there were 27 other tractors on the property as well.

One of the New Holland tractors had a Leitrim registration plate and Mr Muldoon said he owned it. The log book was in the name of an Anthony Rogan who told witness subsequently that he had got a call from Mr Muldoon asking him if he woud do him a favour and register a tractor for him in his name.

Mr Rogan picked up the tractor in a layby along with €300 and went on to register it in his name. A Leitrim plate was allocated to it, 06 LM 3160.

There was also a finance alert on the tractor by a UK lender but this was subsequently discharged.

The tractor originated in Northern Ireland and was registered to Mavitty and the finance was in his name. He defaulted on the finance, witness told Judge Kilrane.

Mavitty had bought it second hand from a dealer in Northern Ireland.

Garda O'Sullivan said it was his opinion that Mavitty was the owner of the Leitrim registered tractor and he had no problem in it going to him.

Both Mr Muldoon or Mr Rogan were not in court, said witness.

"I'm satisfied that there was a false claim on it by Mr Muldoon," said Det Garda O'Sullivan who had earlier stated there had been an in-depth investigation into the matter.

Regarding a second New Holland tractor bearing a registration Y638jaw, witness said there was also a finance alert on this from Lombard North Central but this had also been paid.

Det Garda O'Sullivan said his interest in this tractor was the loader attached which had its identification marks removed.

Witness explained that on January 6th 2016 a New Holland tractor was stolen from Ballinamore, County Leitrim with a loader attached.

Det Garda O'Sullivan said he was satisfied the loader in Mr Muldoon's yard was the one which was stolen.

Mr Mavitty told witness that he had bought the loader from a man called Maguire about 2k from Emyvale.

Det Garda O'Sullivan said he had gone there but was now satisfied he had been led on a wild goose chase by Mr Mavitty.

Ms Spellman stressed that the applicatiion before the court was in respect of the two tractors.

Mavitty told the court that he had negotiated the sale of the Leitrim registered tractor to Anthony Rogan who got it on terms.

However, the sale never happened. Mr Rogan went to look for finance but he had obviously been turned down said Mr Mavitty.

In reply to Judge Kilrane, Mr Mavitty agreed that Mr Rogan took possession of the tractor without paying for it. He knew Mr Rogan through work.

The Judge enquired about the outstanding finance on it and Mr Mavitty replied that he wanted to raise the money from its sale to pay the amounts outstanding on the tractors off. He had got settlement figures.

Mr Mavitty agreed that both tractors "ended up in Mr Muldoon's yard", the second one for hire.

"He is in the farming business," said Mr Mavitty.

Judge Kilrane ordered the return of the tractors to Mr Mavitty.

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