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O'Donnells fail in latest bid for UK bankruptcy

SOLICITOR turned property investor Brian O'Donnell and his wife Mary have failed in their latest bid to be declared bankrupt in Britain.

The High Court in London dismissed an application from the couple to overturn a decision denying them bankruptcy in the UK.

Following a two-week hearing in December, the court had rejected the O'Donnells' initial application.



Mr Justice Guy Newey had concluded the couple's "centre of main interests" was in Ireland, not England, and dismissed the proceedings.

Mr O'Donnell and his psychiatrist wife returned to court this week in an attempt to reverse that decision and submitted new documents to the court. Correspondence between the O'Donnells and some of their creditors illustrated the couple were operating out of London before they applied for bankruptcy, the court heard.

Mr Justice Newey said the new evidence did not justify reopening the case and dismissed the application. The judge in the Royal Courts of Justice said only "exceptional circumstances" would justify the reopening of a decision already made.

The bid had been objected to by Bank of Ireland, which is pursuing the couple for €75m.

Mr O'Donnell had wanted Mr Justice Newey to set aside his ruling in December under section 375.1 of the 1986 Insolvency Act which allowed him to "rescind, review or vary" a judgment if circumstances demand.

Mr O'Donnell, who represented himself and his wife, argued letters showing they had notified creditors of their move to London in late 2011 should be considered by the judge.

The documentation included a change of address letter from credit card company MBNA.

Mr Justice Newey agreed the letters should have been produced during the trial but said it would not have changed the result even if they had.

Brian O'Donnell had previously fought at preventing Bank of Ireland seizing their luxury family home in Killiney

The property, at Gorse Hill, Vico Road was valued at €30m in 2006 but is now worth between €6m and €7m, according to a statement of affairs.

Mr Justice Newey refused leave to appeal, but Mr O'Donnell said the couple would seek leave from the Court of Appeal. The judge also refused a stay on the court order.