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Farmer's appeal over bankruptcy rejected

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(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

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(Stock photo)

The Court of Appeal (CoA) has dismissed a farmer's claim that his bankruptcy over a €1.48m debt should be set aside.

The CoA's decision on Monday came after several years of litigation involving Danske Bank and Paul O'Shea of Davidstown, Castledermot, Co Kildare.

Mr O'Shea was twice jailed for contempt over failures to comply with orders to hand over possession of his property, which had been used as security for his loans, to a receiver appointed by Danske.

Earlier, in March 2013, Danske had obtained judgment against him for €1.29m in relation to a number of unpaid loans he had taken out. By January 2015, with interest charges, that sum had grown to €1.48m.

In July 2016, he was adjudicated bankrupt. By then, he had served time in prison, including one spell of 100 days, for contempt over a refusal to hand over his property to the receiver.

In December 2016, he failed in an application to have his bankruptcy set aside.

Following an appeal by him, the CoA ruled the High Court should reconsider his application because of doubts whether certain payments had been made by him after judgment was entered against him.

In February 2019, the High Court accepted Danske's evidence that no payments whatsoever had been paid after the judgment which, it said, "remained unpaid and unsatisfied in its entirety."

Mr O'Shea appealed that decision on grounds including that it was based on contradictory and misleading evidence and that there were accountancy miscalculations and interest overcharging.

On Monday, Ms Justice Ann Power, on behalf of the CoA, dismissed all his grounds of appeal.

There was no failure on the part of the High Court or the bank to address the doubt about payments raised in the first CoA appeal decision, she said.

In the absence of any evidence to indicate that any payments were made to the outstanding debt, the clarity sought by Mr. O’Shea over what he described as "lodgements" made to his account has been provided (in the High Court decision), she said.

The High Court judge found that,on both statutory and equitable grounds, Mr. O’Shea failed to show cause to annul the adjudication of bankruptcy, she said. She dismissed the appeal.

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