High Court reporter
The High Court has made orders committing three men to Mountjoy prison for being in contempt of court orders restraining them from trespassing at a Carlow property.
A fourth man, Dylan Kavanagh, avoided imprisonment by giving a sworn undertaking to the court that he would obey the orders made by Mr Justice Senan Allen last March.
Ms Justice Emily Egan made orders on Tuesday committing to prison Dylan’s father, Vincent Kavanagh, and two others who had been found that morning at 36 Beechwood Park, Carlow.
They would at any point be able to purge their contempt by giving an undertaking to obey the March orders, she said.
The judge said she wished it could have been possible to explain the gravity of the orders to the three men, but they had made it clear they did not recognise the authority of the court.
Committal orders are an “absolute last resort”, she said, but the fate of the four men was “entirely” in their hands, and she now had no choice but to commit three of them.
Dylan Kavanagh told the court he was not aware of the March orders when he was removed on Tuesday morning from the property he called his home.
The men were in breach of various injunctive orders made by Mr Justice Allen, including one prohibiting Vincent and Madeleine Kavanagh and anyone else acting for them from trespassing at the couple’s former family home at Beechwood Park, which was lawfully possessed by Start Mortgages Designated Activity Company on February 17th, 2020.
A Circuit Court judge made an order in June 2016 for possession of the property, which was upheld by the High Court a year later.
The possession order arose from a failure to meet a repayment demand concerning a €110,000 loan taken out by the Kavanaghs in 2007 with Bank of Scotland (Ireland), which was secured by a mortgage on the Carlow property. Start Mortgages was registered as owner of the charge in April 2015.
Counsel for Start Mortgages, Anthony Thuillier, said there was no application against Madeleine Kavanagh as she was not in the property and assurances were given that she had vacated.
He said the four men were brought before the court by gardaí on foot of attachment orders made last week.
At various points during the proceedings on Tuesday, the three committed men challenged the court’s authority and asked Ms Justice Egan to prove she was a judge. Mr Thuillier said the behaviour was part of a sustained “attack” on the judicial system in relation to this case.
One of the men said the “State, in adverted commas,” was in collusion with Start Mortgages and that various frauds had occurred. The men complained they had been illegally detained.
Ms Justice Emily Egan said she would give a further judgment on the matter on Thursday.
In making the orders in March, Mr Justice Allen said it was “plain beyond argument” that the actions of Vincent and Madeleine Kavanagh, in breaking into the Beechwood Park house via their son, Jeffrey, on the afternoon of February 17th, 2020, were unlawful.
It was uncontested evidence that Jeffrey was recorded using an angle grinder to cut the property’s locks after Start had taken possession, he said.
Mr Justice Allen also made an order in March prohibiting the Kavanaghs and any persons acting for them from recording or posting online footage of any of Start’s employees or the County Registrar for Co Carlow at or near the property.