Sunday 18 November 2018

Millionaire businessman Dr Michael Smurfit will have to attend High Court to give evidence in case, court told

Michael Smurfit Photo: Steve Humphreys
Michael Smurfit Photo: Steve Humphreys

Tim Healy

Millionaire businessman Dr Michael Smurfit will have to attend the High Court to give evidence in the case of a former K Club manager who has sued alleging he was threatened at Punchestown Races.

A subpoena was today issued at the High Court requiring the millionaire businessman Dr Michael Smurfit to attend the case.

The move came on the fifth day of the case taken by former K Club catering manager Peter Curran who has sued Dr Smurfit along with the exclusive five star K Club resort and a resort Superintendent, Gerry Byrne.

Peter Curran, Cahirciveen, Co  Kerry, in his action, has claimed on May 7, 2011 his way was blocked in the toilets at Punchestown Races and Mr Byrne allegedly said "Dr Smurfit has not forgotten the statements about him and the call girls . Dr Smurfit knows where to find you and this is not over." The defendants have denied all claims.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr today granted permission for a subpoena to be issued requiring Dr Smurfit, who lives in Monaco, to attend court.

It followed an application by Peter Curran’s legal team. Kenneth Fogarty SC, for Mr Curran, who said Dr Smurfit was on the schedule of witnesses for the other side and they wanted to know if he was going to be giving evidence.

If Dr Smurfit was not to called as a witness, the Counsel said his side intended to apply for a subpoena.

Mr Justice Barr said Dr Smurfit being on the list of witnesses means there was a clear  intention to have him as a witness, but that did not stop the Curran side from issuing a subpoena. It was a matter for the Curran side, he said.

Mr Fogarty said Dr Smurfit lives outside Ireland and he asked that they be allowed serve the subpoena on the solicitors for Dr Smurfit and also at Dr Smurfit’s Monaco address.

Rossa Fanning SC, for Dr Smurfit, said there were no legal authorities offered to the court in relation to a person living outside the jurisdiction.

Mr Justice Barr said he was satisfied once a party invokes the jurisdiction of the court as a defendant, he has made himself amenable to the court notwithstanding that he lives abroad. The judge said it would be different if he was a stranger to the proceedings.

Mr Curran was catering manager at the K Club between September 1997 and October 1998 when he claims he was forced to leave and later brought an unfair dismissal case which was settled in March 1999.

Mr Curran later brought High Court proceedings claiming alleged breach to his constitutional right to his good name and to earn a livelihood During the run up to that case in replies to written questions and particulars, relating to alleged financial irregularities he had allegedly uncovered at the K Club, Mr Curran made reference to call girls, sometimes sourced abroad, were given free use of the hotel facilities at the K Club.

Those High Court proceedings were settled in 2008 and it is claimed  it was an implied term of the agreement Mr Curran would not be threatened, harassed or intimidated in any manner.

The case before Mr Justice Anthony Barr continues.

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