Friday 23 March 2018

Bankruptcy for Gorse Hill solicitor and his wife extended by High Court

Brian O'Donnell and his wife Mary Pat
Brian O'Donnell and his wife Mary Pat

Tim Healy

The High Court has temporarily extended the bankruptcy of retired solicitor Brian O'Donnell and his wife Mary Patricia.

The extension was sought by the official in charge of the O'Donnells' bankruptcy, the official assignee Chris Lehane, for alleged non co-operation.

Their bankruptcy was due to end later this month but has now been extended until there is a hearing as to whether it it should be further extended.

The O'Donnells oppose the move and deny the allegations.

A view of Gorse Hill, off Vico Road, in Killiney, which Brian O'Donnell and wife Mary Patricia must vacate by the end of the month
A view of Gorse Hill, off Vico Road, in Killiney, which Brian O'Donnell and wife Mary Patricia must vacate by the end of the month

On Monday, Mr Justice Raymond Fullam extended the bankruptcy period pending a hearing as to whether it should be extended for a period.

The length of any extension would be decided by the court. The maximum extension period is five years.

Edward Farrelly Bl, for Mr Lehane, said there were a number of grounds why the official assignee was seeking to extend the O'Donnells' bankruptcy.

One was that they had not filed a statement of affairs until two and a half years after they had been adjudicated as bankrupt.

Representing himself, Mr O'Donnell said he and his wife, who he said is seriously ill and could not be present in court,  were opposing the applications both extend their bankruptcy and the interim order.

He and his wife had been subject to insolvency for some six years and it would not be fair on them if this was to be extended, he said.

They had "answered all the questions" put to them by the official assignee, he said.  "I don't know what else we are supposed to do."

As part of the application  to extend the bankruptcy, Mr O'Donnell will be seeking to do a number of things, including cross examine Mr Lehane.  He will also be seeking that he be provided with documents from Bank of Ireland which, in 2013, petitioned the court have the O'Donnells declared bankrupts.

Mr O'Donnell will also seek to have part  or all of a sworn statement included in the application to extend their bankruptcy struck out.

He claimed Mr Lehane had delayed and waited till the last minute before bringing his application to extend the bankruptcy.

In reply, Mr Farrelly said there was noting unusual in making an application to extend the period of bankruptcy when it was just about to end. The entire of period of bankruptcy has to be looked at, counsel said.

Mr Justice Fullam said he was prepared to make the interim order extending the O'Donnells bankruptcy.

The application is to be mentioned before the court next week.

The O'Donnells were adjudicated bankrupt by the High Court in August of 2013. The finding was confirmed by the Supreme Court in February 2015.

Bank of Ireland applied to have the couple declared bankrupt after they failed to satisfy a judgment for €71.57m obtained against them. The judgment was obtained by BOI in December 2011 after they failed to repay loans  advanced by the bank.

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