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Judge orders jailing of intimidation-case car dealer for contempt over ‘flagrant’ breaches


John Alex Kane. Photo: Gerry Mooney

John Alex Kane. Photo: Gerry Mooney

John Alex Kane. Photo: Gerry Mooney

A judge has ordered that a car dealer be jailed for two months for contempt of court over “flagrant” breaches of orders and undertakings prohibiting him from interfering with the work of a receiver.

John Alex Kane (47) failed to appear in the High Court for the contempt hearing, claiming to be isolating and awaiting a Covid-19 test.

However, it proceeded in his absence after Ms Justice Miriam O’Regan was informed he had been invited to attend by video link but failed to do so.

The judge’s order yesterday committing Mr Kane to Mountjoy Prison was issued a day after his brother Seamus (51) was jailed for a month for contempt after instructing three people to break into a receivership property.

The court heard claims Mr Kane, from Granard, Co Longford, was the instigator of a campaign of intimidation aimed at frustrating the work of Myles Kirby, a receiver appointed by the Revenue Commissioners in 2017.

Mr Kirby, of Kirby Healy Chartered Accountants, has been selling Mr Kane’s properties in a bid to satisfy a €4.9m judgment secured in 2009 over the non-payment of tax on car sales.

Gary McCarthy SC, for Mr Kirby, provided the court with a lengthy list of incidents the receiver alleges Mr Kane was behind. These include the intimidation of prospective buyers, criminal damage, arson and attempts to poison animal feed and milk. Mr McCarthy said the level of intimidation was “staggering”.

Mr Kane denies the allegations. He was previously held in contempt of court by the then president of the High Court, Peter Kelly, in July 2019 but a stay was placed on a two-month jail term after Mr Kane gave undertakings not to interfere in Mr Kirby’s work.

Ms Justice O’Regan said she was satisfied on the basis of three incidents to activate the sentence. The first of these was Mr Kane’s conviction in November last year for trespassing at his former car showroom in Granard.

The second was a letter he wrote to the representative of a prospective land buyer, in which he claimed ownership of receivership properties.

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The third was an appeal he took in a legal action over receivership properties which the Court of Appeal found to be an “abuse of process”.

The judge said while she based her decision on the three incidents, this was not to suggest other incidents didn’t occur at Mr Kane’s behest.

She also said Mr Kane’s absence from court had not been adequately explained.

The judge was told a previously scheduled hearing of the contempt application had to be adjourned in August last year after Mr Kane claimed he had developed Covid symptoms.

Mr McCarthy said that, despite missing the hearing to self-isolate, Mr Kane was seen by a garda in a cafe two days later. 

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