Woman in repossession case is freed
A woman jailed for contempt of a court order directing that she hand over possession of her home to a bank has been freed by the High Court on bail.
Claire Knowles (56) was jailed by a Cork Circuit Cork judge on Tuesday over failure to comply with orders obtained by Bank of Ireland over the repossession of her home at The Pines, Castlejayne Woods, Glanmire, Co Cork.
She was brought to Limerick Prison and held until yesterday, when she was brought before the High Court for an application that she be released on grounds that her detention was unlawful under Article 40 of the Constitution.
The application had been brought on her behalf by anti-eviction campaigner Ben Gilroy, who said he had assisted her in previous court cases relating to the repossession.
Following a hearing, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys ordered Ms Knowles's release on her own bail of €100, with a condition that she stay away from her home, pending the full determination of her legal challenge. She is to return to court next Monday.
The judge ruled that the governor of Limerick Prison was obliged to go behind the reasons for her detention.
To do that, the governor would have to apply to make Bank of Ireland a notice party in this case and he was adjourning the matter in order to allow this to occur. In the meantime, he was granting bail to Ms Knowles who was supported in court by a large number of people.
Remy Farrell, for the prison governor, said his client had no relationship, legal or otherwise, with the Bank of Ireland.
He could not compel witnesses to attend court or provide documentation in order to justify the reasons for committing her to prison, counsel said.