Bernard and Theresa Rocca lost their €1m Castleknock, Dublin, home today Thursday as a judge rejected every legal argument they had put forward in a bid to save it being handed back to a so-called vulture fund.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane said it was an undisputed fact that Rocca owed just over €2million in commercial loans to Havebell Dac as well as the €131,000 both he and his wife owed on a mortgage on the property at 30 Woodberry in leafy Castleknock.
When Eanna Mulloy SC asked the court for a three months stay on a possession order in favour of Havebell to facilitate consideration of an appeal, barrister Gary Hayes, counsel for Havebell, told Judge Linnane it was yet another delaying tactic.
He said every aspect of the Rocca’s defence over the past two years since a re-possession order was first sought was to delay the outcome of the application.
Earlier the court had heard that the Roccas had lodged €131,000 with their solicitor PB Cunningham who had instructions to pay it over if Havebell gave them an undertaking that it would release the couple from the securities contained in the initial 1996 mortgage.
Judge Linnane said both of the Roccas, having had the benefit of legal advice, had earlier signed mortgage conditions which tied both of them to all existing or future borrowings either of them would enter with Havebell.
She said this included €2.1m Mr Rocca had borrowed for failed commercial investments which he had not contested when the High Court had handed down judgments against him.
When Mr Mulloy asked the court for a three months stay he told Judge Linnane the Roccas were now prepared to immediately and unconditionally hand over the €131,000 in their solicitor’s client account.
He said time would be required to consider the judge’s lengthy and detailed judgment and decide if an appeal should entered.
Mr Hayes, who appeared with Sherwin O’Riordan solicitors for Havebell, said the Roccas were now attempting to hold Havebell and the court to ransom on the basis that if they were given a stay on the possession order they would pay over the €131,000.
“It’s a ridiculous situation,” he said.
Judge Linnane said the Roccas did not have any entitlement to the release of charges against their property even on the payment of the €131,000.
She had come to the conclusion there was no defence to Havedell’s application for a possession order which she granted with an order for all legal costs.
She said it was clear that Mrs Rocca had given her consent under the Family Home Protection Act in respect of all monies due or becoming due to Havebell by either or both of them.
She said that subsequent security by Mr Rocca for his commercial loans did not refer to the property was irrelevant.
Judge Linnane said she did not accept the contention that further consents were required from Mrs Rocca each time any further advance had been made to her husband. The court would agree to putingt a three months stay on her formal order for possession to allow the Roccas and their legal team to consider their position.