Monday 19 March 2018

Judgement due in appeal by family of businessman Sean Quinn

Our uncertain, unwieldy defamation regime serves neither plantiffs nor defendents well
Our uncertain, unwieldy defamation regime serves neither plantiffs nor defendents well

JUDGMENT will be given later in an appeal by the family of businessman Sean Quinn over their bid to amend their case relating to share pledges as security for €2.34billion loans from the former Anglo Irish Bank.

They want to amend their case against Anglo's successor, IBRC, to allege they were innocently unaware, when signing share pledges and guarantees as security for the loans to Quinn companies, that the security was allegedly for the unlawful purpose of propping up the Anglo's share price.

They claim they should be entitled to advance a specific claim of innocent unawareness at the hearing of their action aimed at avoiding liabiltiy for the €2.34bn loans.

The trial of that action, initiated in 2011, has been deferred four times at the application of the Director of Public Prosecutions on grounds it might prejudice separate criminal proceedings against former Anglo executives and officials.

A new trial date has yet to be fixed but the Court of Appeal heard today that might be 2017 at the earliest.

Having heard the family’s appeal against a High Court judge’s refusal to permit them make claims of innocent unawareness of the purpose of the share pledges and guarantees, the three judge appeal court said it would give judgment on a later date.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan, presiding and sitting with Mr Justice Michael Peart and Ms Justice Mary Irvine, said the court was also reserving judgment on IBRC’s appeal against the High Court's decision to allow the family pursue their claim that the €2.34bn loans themselves were unlawfully made.

The High Court had also ruled the Quinns cannot pursue claims that the same loans, if found to be illegally made, are not enforceable.

The action by Mrs Patricia Quinn and her five children is aimed at avoiding liability for the loans of €2.34 billion made by the former Anglo to Quinn companies.

In submissions on behalf of the family in their appeal, Bernard Dunleavy SC said their action has “no real prospect” of getting on for at least another year and a half.

It was difficult how IBRC could contend it will suffer any meaningful prejudice as a result of the amendments his side sought to make, he said.

The Quinns say they were effectively directed by others to sign the disputed share pledges and guarantees, he said.

Their case was they would not have done so had they known those were intended, it is alleged, to provide security for loans advanced for the unlawful purpose of propping up Anglo’s share price.

Opposing the appeal, Paul Gallagher SC said the family had not pleaded the case they were now seeking to make and could not be permitted make that case now.

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