The High Court granted a temporary injunction prohibiting a landowner from interfering with the bankruptcy official’s efforts to sell the properties.
The injunction was obtained against John Gaynor of Ballinlug, Rathconrath, Mullingar, Co Westmeath following a claim by the Official Assignee (OA) Mr. Michael Ian Larkin, who is responsible for Mr. Gaynor’s bankruptcy.
The case was brought before Madam Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon during Tuesday’s High Court recess sitting.
Represented by Edward Farrelly SC, the OA claims that Mr. Gaynor hampered efforts to sell three separate plots of land, totaling just over 54.5 hectares, in County Westmeath.
The land forms part of the estate of the bankrupt defendant and is legally sold by the OA for the benefit of Mr. Gaynor’s creditors.
The lawyer said Mr. Gaynor’s bankruptcy proceedings had a long history.
Mr Gaynor was declared bankrupt in 2015, following a petition from his former lawyers Noel Sheridan and Peter Quinn regarding unpaid fees.
He was due to come out of bankruptcy in December 2016.
However, in 2017 his bankruptcy was extended for another five years after the High Court ruled that the defendant had failed to cooperate with the OA.
The board said Mr Gaynor challenged requests to both declare him bankrupt and extend his bankruptcy, and appealed the rulings against him.
The attorney said the injunction request relates only to efforts by the OA, as part of its duties regarding the bankrupt’s estate, to sell land owned by Mr. Gaynor.
Mr. Gaynor’s interference in the process included making contact with potential buyers of the land, the lawyer said.
The lawyer said the OA was seeking various orders, including an injunction against Mr Gaynor, because his client did not want to lose sales.
The orders sought include a form prohibiting Mr. Gaynor from interfering with the sale process, and that the defendant also surrender the vacant possession of the properties to the OA.
However, the lawyer said the OA is committed not to sell the land until the case has been fully taken to court.
Mr. Gaynor, who appeared in person on Tuesday, asked that the case be adjourned for a period so that he can obtain legal advice and representation.
After considering the matter, the judge said she was prepared to grant the OA a temporary injunction, prohibiting Mr. Gaynor or anyone who was made aware of the order from contacting or interfering with the buyers. or potential buyers of the land.
The court also prohibited Mr. Gaynor from interfering with or preventing the OA from exercising its powers and duties with respect to the defendant’s estate.
The judge said she was not ready to adjourn the case without an injunction in place, but urged Mr. Gaynor to seek legal advice.
The judge added that the injunction must remain in place until the case returns to court in October, when the new legal deadline begins.