Wednesday 17 January 2018

Sean Dunne claims warrant to search K Club house was invalid

Developer Sean Dunne
Developer Sean Dunne

Tim Healy

BANKRUPT developer Sean Dunne is to appeal a High Court ruling that a warrant used to search a house in the K-Club was valid.

Mr Dunne is also to ask the Supreme Court to overturn another ruling that his lawyers were not entitled to cross-examine the official who obtained the warrant.

Mr Dunne, who has been declared a bankrupt both in Ireland and the US where he now lives, failed last month in a  High Court application to set aside a warrant granted to the official assignee in charge of Irish bankruptcy, Chris Lehane, allowing a search of the house at Churchfield, Straffan, Kildare, last November.

Various assets, including artworks, were seized by Mr Lehane's staff.

Mr Dunne says he is not the owner of the property and it is held in trust for his children by an Isle of Man registered company called Traviata.

As well as seeking to have the warrant set aside, he asked the court for permission to cross-examine Mr Lehane in order to show claims made to support the granting of the warrant were groundless.

Previously, the court heard Mr Dunne deny claims there was a "false wall" in the house. He said the area in question was in fact a storage unit accessed from under the stairs in which the sound system for the property was located.

He also disputed that he was the owner of a safe found in an upstairs bedroom which contained what searchers believed may be the keys to another safe in the house.

Mr Lehane argued the warrant was valid and also opposed the application for cross-examination.

Mr Dunne's wife, Gayle, his son John, and Traviata, who supported the application to have Mr Lehane cross-examined, have made claims on some the items seized.

In his ruling last month, Mr Justice Brian McGovern found Mr Dunne had "shown no grounds on which the warrant is invalid or defective on its face" and also dismissed the application for cross-examination.

Today, Bill Shipsey SC, for Mr Dunne, said his client would be appealing the warrant issue and the refusal to permit cross-examination.

Gabriel Gavigan SC, for Gayle Dunne, John Dunne and Traviata, said he had no instructions to appeal.

Mr Justice McGovern said he would award costs of the High Court hearing against the Dunne side.

He also said the question of ownership of the K-club house and of the goods seized has yet to be dealt with and he set a date in July for the hearing of that matter.

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