High Court reporters
A High Court judge has ordered the release of two men jailed for contempt of court orders requiring them not to trespass at a Co Carlow property.
Vincent Kavanagh, who used to live at the house at 36 Beechwood Park, Carlow, and another man, who was found there when gardaí entered the property on the morning of May 31st, were committed to prison last month for the contempt of court.
A third man, also found at the house that morning, was released earlier this month after he purged his contempt by giving a sworn undertaking to the court that he would not breach the orders made by Mr Justice Senan Allen last March.
Purge of contempt
Mr Kavanagh’s son, Dylan Kavanagh, avoided imprisonment by purging his contempt at the May 31st hearing.
On Wednesday, Ms Justice Emily Egan gave Vincent Kavanagh and the other man an opportunity to purge their contempt by giving an undertaking to obey the orders, but they refused to do so.
Despite this, the judge said she believed the imprisonment had served its purpose, adding that it was not appropriate for them to remain in Mountjoy Prison.
She warned it was unlikely a judge would be lenient if they were to breach the orders again.
At the May 31st hearing, the judge had stressed that committal orders are an “absolute last resort”, but she said she had no choice but to commit three of the men.
They had been in breach of various injunctive orders made by Mr Justice Allen, including one prohibiting Vincent and his wife, Madeleine Kavanagh, and any persons 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 on Wednesday that the house had been put up for sale.
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.