Farmer ‘took to the air’ in bid to stop repossession

A farmer “took to the air” in a microlight aircraft when gardaí and security men arrived at his repossessed property to remove livestock over a debt, the High Court has heard.

Patrick Canty, from Croom, Co Limerick, also drove a tractor around in circles on the land at Tooreen, Limerick, in Jun 2012, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said yesterday, when she ruled there was nothing to prevent a mortgage company proceeding with its repossession order over the property.

The judge said a court, in Jun 2008, ordered the lands be repossessed on foot of an application brought by Carlisle Mortgages Ltd in relation to a debt owed by Mr Canty.

Mr Canty obtained a five-month stay on the order and its execution was also again postponed when he made a €15,000 payment to Carlisle in relation to the debt.

No further payment was made and in Feb 2012, Carlisle’s solicitors notified Mr Canty the repossession order would be executed and he was asked to remove livestock from the land. He was also told he’d be in contempt of court if he failed to do so.

He didn’t remove the livestock despite another request from the court messenger for Limerick, the judge said.

On Jun 19, 2012, the court messenger, three gardaí and two security men went to the lands at 7.30am. The judge said the gates were locked and animals still on the land.

Mr Canty’s actions that day involved him “taking to the air for a period of time in a microlight aircraft and subsequently driving a tractor around in circles on the land.

“His behaviour on that occasion was somewhat bizarre, obstructive and uncooperative,” Ms Justice Dunne said.

It was not possible to execute the court order that day and despite it being renewed in Jul 2011, it expired in Jul 2012.

Carlisle asked Ms Justice Dunne to renew the order, but Mr Canty opposed this, saying it was not open to the court to do so because it should have been renewed during the currency of the previous order.

Ms Justice Dunne yesterday declined to renew the order but said there was nothing to prevent Carlisle from seeking to have another execution order in the normal way though the High Court Central Office.

She said it should be remembered the only reason the order for possession was not executed was because of Mr Canty’s conduct.

The only “penalty” for Carlisle, if that was the appropriate word to use, she said, was that the mortgage company does not now have priority over any other order over the property that might be in existence.

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