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O'Donnells go to extraordinary lengths in legal saga

SOLICITOR Brian O'Donnell and his psychiatrist wife Mary Pat O'Donnell have gone to some extraordinary lengths to fight bankruptcy at the hands of their nemesis, Bank of Ireland (BOI).

The family, in an earlier bid to persuade the UK courts that their centre of main interest was London, had reserved a burial plot at Westminster's Mill Hill Cemetery.

But have they dug themselves into an early grave by revealing – albeit through a relative – that a High Court judge has a home loan with BoI?

Yesterday, Mr O'Donnell's brother-in-law, Rory O'Beirn, revealed in open court that High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Charleton has a mortgage with BoI.

The O'Donnells, whose legal team indicated that they would soon be parting ways with the couple because of a relationship breakdown, are intent on pursuing the judge's "bias" in the Supreme Court.

Will the Supreme Court oblige the O'Donnells if they are asked to provide details of their bank loans?

The case for a register of judges' interests, akin to a Dail register, has much merit. Such a register would ameliorate against the dangers of any conflicts of interest.

Many judges already do declare that they hold shares with various banks and the courts have ruled on the need for cases not to be tainted by any bias, real or perceived.

But using court privilege to "reveal" that a judge has a mortgage seems like the desperate deeds of desperate men.

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