Three-month sentences for Quinn son and nephewBy Ann O’Loughlin - Saturday, July 21, 2012
A High Court judge yesterday ordered the jailing of the son and nephew of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn for three months for contempt.
Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne ruled while punitive sanction was a last resort, there had been an "outrageous" contempt of court orders by Seán Quinn Sr, Seán Quinn Jnr and Peter Quinn.
The judge was not happy with their level of co-operation to reverse asset- stripping measures from the Quinn family’s international property group.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of Peter Darragh Quinn, Mr Quinn’s nephew, when he did not attend court yesterday.
Ms Justice Dunne said she would grant the former Anglo Irish Bank’s application to jail Seán Quinn Jnr and Peter Quinn but leave over a punitive sanction against Seán Quinn so that he should take further steps towards compliance.
The bank had said it would not seek to jail Seán Quinn Snr because it wanted him to be available to take steps to unwind the asset-stripping measures. He had admitted directing a scheme to move assets beyond the reach of the bank.
The judge said the imprisoned two could apply to the court earlier than the three-month period if they considered they had purged their contempt, but refused an application by Bill Shipsey SC, for the Quinns, to put a stay on her orders pending appeal to the Supreme Court.
The three Quinns had argued in detailed affidavits filed in the early hours of yesterday morning that they have done everything possible to comply with court orders, had written many letters and disclosed many documents. They were helpless to do more, due to attitudes taken by others, including lawyers and former employees in Russia and Ukraine, they said.
Peter Quinn and Seán Quinn Jnr were also fearful of returning to Ukraine due to developments there, the court heard.
Their counsel Brian O’Moore SC argued the bank’s application to jail the son and nephew to put pressure on the "chieftain" Seán Quinn Snr was "medieval" but Ms Justice Dunne said, "far from being medieval", she considered it "a practical way" of procuring compliance.
Seán Quinn Snr and his son were in court yesterday but a warrant was issued just after noon for the arrest of Peter Quinn over his failure to attend or to respond to phone calls to elicit his whereabouts.
The judge heard a solicitor for the Quinn side was phoned after 10am, apparently by a relative of Peter Quinn, to say he was sick.