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Car dealer insists he was not behind gunshots and intimidation

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John Alex Kane represented himself in the court case. Photo Owen Breslin

John Alex Kane represented himself in the court case. Photo Owen Breslin

John Alex Kane represented himself in the court case. Photo Owen Breslin

A businessman has denied being behind gunshots, threatening calls and other activities interfering in the work of a receiver appointed by the Revenue Commissioners.

Car dealer John Alex Kane made the denials in High Court proceedings where the receiver is seeking the activation of a two-month suspended jail term imposed last year for contempt of court.

During a hearing yesterday, Mr Kane also disputed claims he had used money from illegal car trading to make payments totalling almost €450,000 to the Revenue Commissioners since 2018.

The money was paid under a deal which has allowed him to keep his family home outside Granard, Co Longford.

Mr Kane claimed he was "insolvent" and borrowed the money "from here, there and everywhere".

The Revenue secured a judgment for €4.97m against Mr Kane in 2009, but efforts by receiver Myles Kirby to sell various properties in Co Longford owned by the businessman have been thwarted by a campaign of intimidation and interference.

Several incidents were outlined to Mr Justice Michael McGrath by the receiver's counsel Gary McCarthy SC, who appeared with solicitor Michael Commons. These included the discharge of a shotgun near the home of a farmer who had been in talks to buy land from the receiver.

The court heard a threatening letter was sent to a businessman who had agreed to purchase one of the receivership properties.

Mr McCarthy also outlined how threatening phone calls made to a cattle dealer were traced back to Mr Kane's landline at his Kanes of Granard premises.

The suspended sentence was imposed by High Court President Peter Kelly last year after he found Mr Kane had breached an undertaking not to enter receivership lands.

The judge suspended the sentence so it would "hang over" Mr Kane and remind him "he can no longer behave as he has done" and that if he did, he would have to serve the term of imprisonment.

Mr Justice Kelly also gave the receiver permission to remove and sell livestock which persons unknown had placed on one parcel of land.

The court heard the cattle dealer who bought the livestock had filed an affidavit saying that "out of the blue" last July he received a phone call from someone identifying himself as Jerome Kane, John Alex Kane's brother.

This person is alleged to have told the cattle dealer he got the cattle too cheaply and to have demanded money from him. Further phone calls followed.

"They were very intimidating calls," said Mr McCarthy.

Jerome Kane gave sworn evidence in court last year that he did not make the phone calls.

Mr McCarthy also outlined how gardaí had observed John Alex Kane buying red paint in a hardware store and that shortly afterwards signs with red writing appeared affixed to the gate of a receivership property saying: "Dispute ongoing. Stay out."

Mr Kane, who represented himself in court, denied being involved in the matters described by Mr McCarthy. He also said another man had provided an affidavit accepting responsibility for the phone calls to the cattle dealer.

The hearing was adjourned for a fortnight to establish whether the court had the power to grant Mr Kane civil legal aid. Before the adjournment, Mr Kane gave another undertaking not to interfere in the work of the receiver.

Irish Independent