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Thursday 19 October 2017

Contempt farmer will remain in Mountjoy

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A Co Kildare farmer will remain in Mountjoy Prison for contempt of court following a decision today of the Court of Appeal.

Paul O'Shea had been jailed by the High Court for failing to comply with orders restraining any interference with a bank appointed receiver, George Maloney, in his attempts to sell lands owned by Mr O'Shea.

Last week Mr Justice Paul Gilligan refused, following an inquiry into Mr O'Shea's detention under Article 40 of the Constitution, to order Mr O'Shea's immediate release on grounds that his imprisonment was unlawful. Judge Gilligan said he was satisfied that Mr O'Shea's detention was legal.

Today Mr O'Shea, represented by Land League activist Jerry Beades, appealed the High Court's decision to the Court of Appeal, comprised of Court of Appeal President, Mr Justice Sean Ryan, sitting with Mr Justice Michael Peart and Mr Justice Alan Mahon.

Mr Beades argued Mr O'Shea of Davidstown, Castledermott, Co Kildare should be released immediately on a number of grounds including that the warrant under which he was being detained was flawed. The court also heard Mr O'Shea had allegedly not been informed by Gardai, when he was arrested, as to why he was being detained.

Barrister Tony McGillicuddy, for the Governor of Mountjoy Prison, in opposing the appeal told the court the warrant was valid.

He said the reasons behind Mr O'Shea's committal to prison were not something that concerned the court in the Article 40 proceedings.

Judge Ryan said that due to the importance and the urgency of the matter, the Court of Appeal was giving an ex-tempore judgment (straight after hearing the appeal.)

The court's decision was that Mr O'Shea was in legal detention for contempt of court, as the documentation had been in order. The prison governor had no choice but to receive Mr O'Shea and lodge him in prison.

Mr Maloney, of Baker, Tilly, Ryan, Glennon, was appointed as receiver in September 2012 by Dankse Bank over two large fields totalling 31 hectares owned by O'Shea, over default on loan payments made under a mortgage entered into with NIB in 2003. The fields were put up as security for the loan.

In March 2013, the bank obtained a High Court judgment of €1.29m against O'Shea.

Four months later the receiver obtained High Court injunctions restraining O'Shea and Cannon Agri Ltd, a company controlled by O'Shea, and all others with knowledge of the proceedings from interfering with his work as receiver. He also obtained an order directing that the lands be handed over to him.

O'Shea claimed Mr Maloney had no right to act as a receiver. When the matter returned before the High Court last January, lawyers for the receiver claimed the injunctions had been breached and sought orders for O'Shea's committal to prison for contempt.

In January Mr Justice Anthony Hunt ruled O'Shea was in contempt of court and made an order committing him to prison until he purged his contempt. Last week the Gardai, on foot of the warrant, detained Mr O'Shea and brought him to Mountjoy Prison.

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