Saturday 21 April 2018

Court gives Brian O'Donnell more time to prepare case due to impending eviction from Gorse Hill mansion

Brian O’Donnell at the Court of Appeal. Photo: Collins Courts.
Brian O’Donnell at the Court of Appeal. Photo: Collins Courts.

Tim Healy

RETIRED solicitor Brian O'Donnell has been given more time to prepare a case related to his failed bankruptcy annulment proceedings because he says he is busy dealing with his impending eviction on Wednesday from his former family home.

He and his wife Mary Patricia must be out of Gorse Hill, Killiney, Dublin, by then unless the Supreme Court tomorrow allows him take another appeal against a finding they are trespassing.

The Court of Appeal gave him until Wednesday to vacate but he  wants the Supreme Court to hear another appeal against that decision on a point of exceptional public importance.

Mr O'Donnell was back in the High Court before Ms Justice Caroline Costello today to deal with costs of his failed bid to have his and his wife's 2013 bankruptcy overturned.  

His solicitor son Blake was also there to deal with applications over a court-appointed bankruptcy official's decision to get a search warrant for Gorse Hill to look at its contents while he and his three siblings were still living there.

Ms Justice Costello said she would adjourn submissions on the question of costs of the bankruptcy annulment to May 14.  

She had set this Thursday to deal with that issue but was prepared to give Mr O'Donnell "a bit of leeway" after he asked that it be put back to May 28 for practical reasons "to do with the eviction on Wednesday."

He needed more time because of the "simply human and practical problem" concerning the eviction in two days, he said. 

Ms Justice Costello was not prepared to give him that long but said she would fix May 14 for the hearing of the costs matter.

She told Blake O'Donnell she will deal with issues related to the search warrant on May 19.

They include an application by the court-appointed official handling the O'Donnell bankruptcy, Official Assignee Chris Lehane, for permission to cross-examine the O'Donnell children about the contents of the house when they were living there.  

Blake O'Donnell and siblings, Alexandra, Blaise, and Bruce, have separately brought rescission and damages proceedings in relation to that search warrant.

Blake said they were also hoping to apply for liberty to cross examine Mr Lehane in relation to the facts surrounding the issuing of the search warrant.

The judge said she would deal with those applications on the 19th but said it may not be possible for the cross-examinations to take place on the same day.

Separately, Mr Justice Brian McGovern adjourned to next month Bank of Ireland's case for damages over its trespass proceedings against Mr O'Donnell and his wife.  

This case will deal in full with all the issues in the bank's successful trespass injunction hearing granted by the High Court in March and confirmed earlier this month by the Court of Appeal. 

Mr O'Donnell sought the full 28 days allowed under court rules to file replies to the bank's case.  He said the Supreme Court had indicated they would deal with his appeal on the trespass injunction on Tuesday.

Mr Justice McGovern also adjourned a number of other matters related to proceedings related to the O'Donnell siblings and a company called Vico which the Supreme Court found owned Gorse Hill.  

The bank is seeking the lifting of a legal bar - a "lis pendens" - preventing the sale of Gorse Hill pending the outcome of court proceedings.   It has also sought the strike out of separate proceedings by the O'Donnell children.

Blake O'Donnell was told by Mr Justice McGovern he will have to file an affidavit saying he has a solicitor's practising certificate in England and to show he has the assistance of an Irish lawyer to allow him to act here on behalf of Vico as only a qualified solicitor can represent a company.

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