O'Donnell daughter seeks to overturn High Court ruling

A daughter of a solicitor Brian O’Donnell has appealed orders made by the High Court last Friday directing her to give the bank access to her home or face imprisonment.

Lawyers for Blaise O’Donnell told the Supreme Court today that the orders were made “in secret” and required her to give access to her dwelling at Gorse Hill, Vico Road in Killiney on threat of imprisonment.

Her father Brian O'Donnell is being pursued for €75m by the bank.

BOI sought access to the house to take an inventory of artwork, paintings, carpets and rugs furniture, antiques, sculptures and jewellery, ornaments and electronic appliances. Officials from a solicitor’s firm carried out the inventory last Monday.

Last week Mr Justice Kelly, following an application by BOI, granted a number of orders restraining the Brian and Mary O'Donnell, their four children Bruce Blaise, Alexandra and Blake and three companies Vico Ltd, Chancery Trustees Ltd and Vico Barton Ltd from either destroying or hiding or parting with possession, power, custody of certain items contained at Gorse Hill.

Vico Ltd and Chancery Trustee Ltd are registered in the Isle of Man while Vico Barton is registered in Jersey in the Channel Islands.

Ross Maguire SC said the fact that the orders were granted in the High Court “in secret” raised issues of profound constitutional importance and the court did not have jurisdiction to hear such a matter in private.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly also granted an injunction last Friday preventing the O’Donnells and the three companies, from dissipating any of the property in the house – including art and antiques or from destroying it or trying to hide it.

Miss O’Donnell is also appealing that order on the grounds that it too should not have been heard in camera. In her affidavit to the court she said that she was "aghast" an order that touched upon her family home, in circumstances that she could face imprisonment if she were disobey it, could be made in secret.

The search of the house, including her bedroom, was "a gross invasion of my privacy."

Paul Gardiner SC for BOI said the order had been correctly made and it was now expired. He said even if the Supreme Court found that the application should not have been heard in camera, it still had to decide whether this affected the main order.

Yesterday at the Supreme Court the Chief Justice Ms Susan Denham, who said the case raised a very important point, agreed to hear the appeal as a matter of urgency. The matter was listed for mention on May 24th next.

Meanwhile, the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly adjourned a full hearing of the injunction application until later this month after Miss O’Donnell gave an undertaking to comply with the terms of the order until then.

An undertaking was given on behalf of Miss O'Donnell to comply with the court's order. Mr Maguire said she had not and never had had any intention of dissipating the assets or destroying them to frustrate any creditor.

Following discussions between the various parties lawyers it was agreed to adjourn all proceedings until May 21 next. The injunctions granted by the court are to remain in place.

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