Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 20 April 2019

'The lands are my whole life and my family's' - Judge directs jailing of man over preventing fund's receiver take possession of land

Stock photo
Stock photo

Tim Healy

A man who refused to comply with orders restraining him interfering with a fund-appointed receiver taking possession of his lands in Co Wexford must be jailed for contempt, the High Court has ruled.

Mr Justice Senan Allen said Pat Carty has repeatedly refused to comply with orders restraining interference with David Van Dessel, a receiver appointed by Ennis Property Finance over the 52 acres and a rented house at Rathduff, Rathnure.

The lands were security for loans advanced by Bank of Scotland Ireland to Mr Carty.

After they were transferred by Bank of Scotand to the fund, it appointed the receiver over default on loan repayment.   

On March 16th 2017, the High Court granted the receiver orders restraining Mr Carty interfering with his taking possession of the lands. Those orders apply pending a full hearing of proceedings between the receiver and Mr Carty.

The receiver initiated committal proceedings in late 2017 after his agents went onto the lands and were met by signs with the words: “Trespassers shall be shot” and “No Trespass”.

Mr Carty and others had told the agents they were refused entry onto the lands and the receiver also believed Mr Carty was collecting rents or other payments connected with the property.

Mr Carty, a father of five, had appealed to the judge not to jail him.  

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His "life and livelihood are at stake" he said. He has various financial issues, had had his head “in the sand” for some time and wanted mediation as he feared the receiver would sell the property at an undervalue.

His father is in poor health and walks the lands daily and he was concerned about the impact on his father, he added.

Andrew Fitzpatrick SC, for the receiver, said his client was prepared to talk with Mr Carty but only if the latter agreed to comply with the orders.

The attachment and committal application was heard last week.

Before and after the judge gave his ruling on Monday, the judge again asked Mr Carty would he comply but Mr Carty said he could not, the lands “are my whole life and my family’s”.

The judge said he would make the committal order but he told Mr Carty he was free pending the order being executed by gardai.  The jailing order applies until Mr Carty agrees to purge his contempt.

In his judgment, the judge said Mr Carty, who represented himself but received assistance at various stages from others including anti eviction activist Ben Gilroy, had advanced no legal grounds or any new material to support his arguments against committal.

The High Court previously rejected his claims the receiver’s appointment was invalid for reasons including the transfer of charges on the lands by Bank of Scotland Ireland to Bank of Scotland to Ennis, he said.

Mr Carty had not sought a stay on those orders or appealed them and had shown no basis for the court to vary them, he held.

Various other arguments advanced by Mr Carty in resisting committal were also dismissed.

While a statement of claim should have been advanced by the receiver within 28 days of the March 16th 2017 hearing, but was not delivered until after the 28 days, the March 2017 orders were not dependent on the claim being delivered in time, he said.

“The law is clear and there is no dispute on the facts,” he said.

Mr Carty was in breach by impeding the receiver in taking possession but, while the court thought Mr Carty was probably collecting rents, the evidence did not establish that beyond reasonable doubt.

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