The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by businessman and anti-eviction activist Jerry Beades against €9.6m judgment orders granted against him concerning loans advanced for a development of 48 apartments in north inner city Dublin.
The three-judge court said the High Court had correctly found in 2012 that Mr Beades had no arguable defence to summary judgment as sought by Bank of Scotland plc.
At the request of Mr Beades, representing himself, it adjourned consideration of cost issues to October.
In his 2012 High Court judgment, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said Mr Beades had received the monies, advanced in four facilities by the bank between 2005 and 2008, had had the benefit of them and was obliged to repay them. It was very clear he had no defence to the claim, the judge held.
Mr Beades, with addresses at Richmond Road and Richmond Avenue, Fairview, Dublin, subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court.
Giving that court's judgment on Monday, Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, with whom Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne and Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley agreed, noted no steps have been taken to enforce the judgment despite no stay being imposed following the High Court decision of 2012.
Mr Beades, during the Supreme Court appeal, “studiously sought to avoid acknowledgement of the facts” but such matters as he did address made it clear, “by inference at least, he had received the monies in question", he said.
Mr Beades had made various arguments, including there was no admissible evidence to ground the bank’s claim, the judge noted. Mr Beades contended, inter alia, Certus, the entity managing the bank’s debt recovery process, was not entitled to give evidence in pursuit of the bank’s claim.
Mr Justice O’Donnell said that argument, based on the provisions of the Bankers books Evidence Act 1879, was misconceived.
He also said Order 37 of the Superior Court rules is in itself authority that a person other than the plaintiff can give evidence sufficient to establish the plaintiff’s claim so long as that person can “swear positively to the facts showing that the plaintiff is entitled to the relief claimed”.
He was satisfied a named Certus employee was in a position to do so.
He dismissed as misconceived an additional claim by Mr Beades’ there was no admissible evidence of the arrangements between him, the bank, its predecessor Bank of Scotland Ireland, or of indebtedness by Mr Beades to the bank.
The evidenced of a Certus employee and the bank’s senior lending manager, who signed the 2007 loan offer, allowed them to state of their own knowledge as to the fact and amount of Mr Beades indebtedness, he said.
He dismissed all other grounds of appeal.
In the course of the judgment, he also observed, although a House of Lords decision of 1965 (Myers v DPP) concerning the treatment of evidence was almost immediately reversed by statute in the UK, it has “much greater staying power here” although its effects “are almost always unhelpful to the fair resolution of cases”.
There is a “somewhat strange” position here as the UK decision has been abrogated by statute here in criminal proceedings but not in civil proceedings, he said. In that regard, recommendations in a 2016 report of the Law Reform Commission on consolidation and reform of aspects of the law of evidence “are pertinent”.