A receiver has failed to obtain a High Court order to restrain a horse trainer from interfering with the receiver’s dealings with a Co Kilkenny stud farm.
Debt recovery firm Everyday Finance DAC claims Anthony Mullins had defaulted on loans totalling some €526,000 originally borrowed from Allied Irish Bank in 2004. The loan was restructured in March 2015, and Mr Mullins secured his borrowing with a charge over his lands at Watree Stud, Gowran, Co Kilkenny, totalling approximately 23 hectares.
The loans were transferred in June 2019 to Everyday.
Paul J. Brady BL, on behalf of the receiver, Ken Tyrrell and Everyday Finance, said various injunctions were being sought on grounds that Mr Mullins had allegedly interfered with the receiver’s ability to secure the properties.
The court heard Mr Tyrrell wrote to Mr Mullins upon being appointed a receiver over the income of Watree Stud on October 6th 2020 informing him it was his duty as receiver to secure and manage the properties.
In an affidavit, Mr Tyrrell said he had requested that Mr Mullins supply details of any tenancies that might exist at the properties and to provide keys and alarm codes.
It was alleged Mr Mullins responded by letter saying he would “consider compliance” when the receiver obtained a court order to support his claims and demands. In his October 9th letter, it was alleged Mr Mullins went on to write: “... where you interfere with my property or business without a court order, I will immediately sue you for defamation in the High Court”.
Further correspondence from Mr Mullins allegedly included a letter entitled “Trespass Notice”, in which he stated he had no contractual relationship with Everyday Finance.
Representing himself in court, Mr Mullins said the issuing of the trespass notice was “very important”, as he could not allow any of the horses he trains on the land to be damaged.
“I needed to stop them doing any damage to the horses, as they are not my property,” he told the court.
Access to property
Mr Justice Senan Allen said he was not convinced Mr Mullins’ request for the receiver to obtain a court order to gain access to the property equated to interference.
He was also “not at all sure” that the trespass notice amounted to a threat, as was the case presented by Everyday.
The judge refused the interlocutory injunctions (orders applying pending a full hearing) for reasons including his concerns about whether the proceedings had been served on all parties potentially affected. He said service had not been effected as required by the rules.
He was also not satisfied there was evidence to justify the orders sought.
He had no clear evidence as to the income generated by the property, he said.
Had he been inclined to grant the order, Mr Justice Allen said the consequences for Mr Mullins would have been “bleak”, while the benefits for the receiver were not clear.