Cheltenham winner's owner sues CAB over 'career-ending' race
The career of a Cheltenham-winning horse has ended owing to an injury after it was raced following the freezing of its ownership by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), it was claimed in the High Court.
John Boylan (32), aka John Power, of Forest Hill, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, who the CAB says is involved in drug dealing in the Clondalkin area, is contesting its claim that he acquired the horse called Labaik from crime.
It won €125,000 in the 2017 Supreme Novices Hurdle at odds of 25/1, causing a shock in betting circles because of its previous form.
Labaik had won four of its previous nine races, but refused to leave the stalls for three of them, the court heard.
Mr Boylan is the 90pc owner of the horse and says it was not bought from the proceeds of crime.
After the CAB obtained an interim court order allowing the bureau to hold its seized horse passport, Labaik remained with one of the other two part-owners, who are not involved in criminality.
However, Mr Boylan's counsel, John Fitzgerald, said the effect of an injury that the horse sustained after it was run following the CAB seizure move was to end its career.
Mr Boylan has now brought his own proceedings against the CAB, claiming losses arising out of the injury, which he says was because the bureau allowed the horse to be run.
The court heard Labaik had been expected to be sold for between €300,000 and €400,000, having been bought for around £26,000 in 2016, with Mr Boylan a 90pc owner.
The CAB denies his claims and, in its own proceedings, wants the horse declared the proceeds of crime, along with a 2013 Mercedes Benz, bought from the UK for £28,000 (€31,000).
The CAB says Mr Boylan is the beneficial owner of the car, while he has claimed it is owned by his girlfriend, Naomi Kinsella, against whom the proceedings are also brought.
The case opened before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart yesterday but was adjourned so that CAB officers could be cross-examined by Mr Boylan's counsel.
Earlier, Ben O'Floinn BL, for the CAB, reading from an affidavit, said Mr Boylan/Power had convictions for drug dealing.
A silver Mercedes, in the name of Naomi Kinsella, was imported from the UK and detained in 2017 by the CAB, counsel said.
The horse was bought with money from a joint account of Mr Boylan and Ms Kinsella, the majority of the price being paid through a credit transfer by him.
Mr Fitzgerald, for Mr Boylan, also complained that the CAB was saying his client was the owner of the horse in its own proceedings but denying it in the case taken by Mr Boylan.
However, Mr O'Floinn said cross-examination of the CAB officers could take place only if the Boylan side had challenged specific claims of the officers and this had not happened.
Ms Justice Stewart said Mr Boylan had sworn in an affidavit in which he did not accept the horse came from the proceeds of crime and had also given details of his work history and set out payments from family members.
While it was ultimately a matter for the court, he was entitled to cross-examine the CAB officers, she said.
Mr O'Floinn said the officers were not available at short notice and the case would have to be put back.
The judge adjourned proceedings to next week.