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Missing Quinn can't be forced to return to serve jail sentence

PETER Darragh Quinn cannot be forced to return to the State to serve his three-month prison sentence for contempt.

The nephew of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn was jailed by the High Court on Friday, along with his cousin, Sean Quinn Jnr, for contempt, but his whereabouts remain unknown.

Sean Jnr spent the weekend in Mountjoy Prison where he was visited by his new wife Karen Woods and two of his sisters.



Appeals

However the Garda search continued today for Peter Darragh Quinn who has an address in Co Fermanagh. He failed to turn up in the High Court on Friday.

But because the arrest warrant relates to contempt, a civil matter, he cannot be extradited if he has left the jurisdiction.

He has never been charged with a criminal offence and even if is tracked down by police in Northern Ireland, he cannot be returned to the Republic because he has not committed a criminal office.

Lawyers for the Quinns are expected to lodge formal appeals as early as today against the jailing of the two Quinns, as well as the contempt of court findings against both of them and Sean Quinn Snr.

Mr Quinn remained defiant yesterday ahead of a Supreme Court appeal against the ruling, saying the fight back by his family against the former Anglo Irish Bank, now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, as he "always" stood up to "bullies".

Last month the High Court ruled that the Quinn children -- Ciara, Aoife, Colette, Brenda and Sean Jnr -- could not reduce their assets below €50m each.

The temporary freezing orders also apply to Peter Darragh Quinn Sean Quinn Snr's two sons-in-law, Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland.

The IBRC has already secured orders appointing receivers over the assets of Peter Darragh Quinn and Sean Quinn Jnr.

It is expected to ask the courts to appoint receivers over other family members assets tomorrow.

Gardai have visited Peter Darragh Quinn's addresses in the Republic but there was no sign of him.

After spending a night in Mountjoy Prison, Sean Quinn Jnr has been transferred to the prison's Training Unit, a semi open, low security facility.

Well-placed sources said the 33-year-old was extremely mannerly but badly shaken on his arrival in prison.

"He was very upset, he was just saying 'this is crazy, this is crazy,'" said one.

"He wanted to know how long he would have to do out of the three months."

Along with Peter Darragh Quinn, he was jailed for three months after Miss Justice Elizabeth Dunne in the High Court ruled the pair, along with Sean Quinn Snr, had failed to adequately comply with court orders aimed at reversing measures stripping multi-million euro assets from the family's international property group.



Respect

Minister for Public Service Reform Brian Hayes said the Government was determined that control of the assets would be returned to Ireland.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said in Donegal last night that everyone should respect the decision of the High Court, including Peter Darragh Quinn.

The judge has made it clear that the Quinns can come back into court and purge their contempt by reversing the transaction relating to the multi-million euro asset stripping scheme.

mlavery@herald.ie