Former bankers attempt to stop customers' private prosecution for alleged deception

Two officials at IBRC (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) have brought a High Court challenge over a customer's private prosecution against them for alleged deception.

Mary Kelly and Declan Buckley, who has since retired from Irish Banking Resolution Corporation, have been summoned to appear before Dublin District Court next Monday on foot of a prosecution brought by company director Mr Patrick Halpin.

They want the High Court to quash the summonses which were issued by District Court Judge Ann Ryan.

Today, Brian Murray SC for the bankers said the action against his clients is "frivolous and vexatious". It has been brought because of Mr Halpin's grievance over IBRC's decision to have appoint receivers to two companies of which he is a director, counsel added.

Mr Halpin, a director of Crossplan Investments Ltd and Elektron Holdings Limited of Aberdeen Lodge, Park Avenue Sandymount Dublin 4, has alleged that Ms Kelly and Mr Buckley by deception falsely represented that IBRC was prepared to engage in a process that would allow Elektron trade normally.

The bankers say the allegations against them are "without foundation" and want the summonses obtained by Mr Halpin of Aberdeen Lodge, Park Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4 requiring them to attend before the District Court quashed by the High Court.

Ms Kelly is a case manager with the banks' Recovery Management Division, while Mr Buckley is a former employee of IBRC, having being its Director of Banking up to the end of last March.

Counsel said that on Feburary 17 last, Mr Halpin, whose companies the court heard owe a significant debt to IRBC, and an accountant with Elektron met with the two bankers.

The bank says that it made a demand for payment of the monies its claims it is owed in respect of loans advanced and guaranteed by the companies.

Following the meeting the bank appointed a receiver to both the companies, which are involved in the hotel business including the Merrion Hall boutique hotel/guesthouse in Dublin 4.

Mr Halpin, counsel said, seemed to be under the impression that after that meeting there would be further discussions.

In his complaint Mr Halpin alleges that a decision had already been taken by the bank to appoint a receiver and had deliberately concealed this information from him.

Counsel said that at no stage was ever denied at that meeting that a receiver would not have been appointed. It was made clear to him by IBRC that the appointment of a receiver to the companies was an option they were considering

"This summons should never have been issued against them," and is "an abuse of process," counsel said.

Counsel said that by signing the summonses Judge the judge had erred in law. Information sworn by Mr Halpin failed to disclose the existence of any offence on the parts of his clients, counsel added.

The complaints against them counsel added comes from a misplaced sense of grievance," arising out of IRBC's decision to serve demands for repayment in respect of sums due from Crossplan and Elektron Holdings.

In their action against Judge Ryan the bankers are seeking orders quashing the decision of Judge to issue summons requiring them to attend the District court on foot of the complaints made by Mr Halpin.

Mr Halpin is a notice party to the proceedings.

They are also seeking a stay on all proceedings against them until the High Court action has been determined, and an order for discovery of all relevant documents from Mr Halpin.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted on an ex-parte basis (one side only) by the President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns today.

The Judge made the matter returnable to a date in July.

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