Monday 11 December 2017

O'Donnell siblings to be quizzed about contents of Gorse Hill

Siblings Blake, Alexandra and Blaise O’Donnell
Siblings Blake, Alexandra and Blaise O’Donnell

Tim Healy

A judge has directed the public cross-examination in court of the four adult children of retired solicitor Brian O'Donnell about their dealings with the contents of their family home at Gorse Hill, Killiney.

The four - Alexandra, Blake, Blaise and Bruce - oppose any such examination by the trustee administering their parents' bankruptcy, the official assignee.

They said the matter should be dealt with in written documents and an oral examination was a waste of court time. They also argued if any such oral examination is permitted, it should be in private.

The four, who contend some of the contents at issue are gifts, have appealed a previous High Court order directing their examination.

They want a stay on the examination from the Court of Appeal. Lawyers for the official assignee, Chris Lehane, opposed any stay. He said that pending the hearing of the stay application at the Court of Appeal later this month, the appeal court sought clarification from the High Court as to whether it considered the examination, if it was permitted to proceed, should be in public.

Having considered written submissions from Blake O'Donnell, for the four, and Edward Farrelly BL, for Mr Lehane, on the public/private point, Ms Justice Caroline Costello ruled it should be in public.

An interim stay on the examination of the four applies pending the outcome of the appeal court's decision on the full stay application.

Ms Justice Costello previously ruled an oral examination of the four would be far less time-consuming and more likely to achieve the aim of securing information about the assets.

She said the Bankruptcy Act provides the court can direct part of a hearing can be in private, but there was no guidance how that discretion be exercised.

Irish Independent

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