Monaghan businessman released after 115 days in Mountjoy for contempt

ireland
Monaghan Businessman Released After 115 Days In Mountjoy For Contempt
Fergal Deery has spent 115 days behind bars, including the Christmas and New Year's holidays
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Aodhan O'Faolain

The High Court has directed that a businessman jailed over his failure to comply with an order to stay away from two properties in Co Monaghan be released from Mountjoy Prison.

Mr Justice Senan Allen said that the continued imprisonment of Fergal Deery, who spent 115 days behind bars, including the Christmas and New Year's holidays, "was no longer necessary" to ensure that the court's authority was vindicated.

The judge said that if there was any further disobedience in regards to the order by Mr Deery or anybody else, then they would be brought back before the court to answer for it.

'Very stubborn'

The Judge described Mr Deery as being ' very stubborn' due to his refusal to purge his contempt during the course of his incarceration.

The judge said he hoped that the contrast between his liberty and his "miserable existence" in prison would bring him to recognise the authority of the court.

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After telling Mr Deery that he was "free to go" Mr Justice Allen added that he hoped never to meet the defendant again.

He was jailed last December after the Court found him in contempt of orders made in March 2020 in relation to what has been a long-running dispute.

The court ordered that Mr Deery, who had breached orders originally made by the High Court in 2015, not to trespass or interfere with two premises located in Monaghan Town, which had previously been controlled by Mr Deery's family be brought before the court to answer his contempt.

The application seeking Mr Deery's attachment and committal to prison was made by Wardglade Limited which acquired the properties, a bar and a nightclub, from a receiver in 2015.

Unhappy over sale

Mr Deery, who denies breaching the order, is unhappy over the sale, and has alleged that process was fraudulent. He also claims he was illegally evicted from the property in 2013.

In 2015 Wardglade secured orders against Mr Deery, of Drumhillock, Monaghan restraining him from trespassing on the properties.

Mr Deery was committed to prison in July 2018 for two weeks after he was found in contempt of the 2015 orders.

He was released after he purged his contempt and gave undertakings to stay away from the premises, and to stop making comments on social media or in public about Wardglade director Mr Ciaran Marron, and Seamus and Frank McEnaney.

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Last year Wardglade, represented by James McGowan Bl, brought fresh proceedings claiming that there had been further breaches of the orders.

It claimed Mr Deery, and others, had entered the properties without Wardglade's consent on several occasions

Intimidation

It also claimed that Mr Deery commenced a campaign of intimidation against persons associated with Wardglade, and had made threats against Mr Marron's family, business associates and his solicitor on social media.

Giving the court's decision the judge said that evidence had shown Mr Deery enter the premises in December 2019 with a group of others men.

The judge said that it seemed that for those others the breaking and entering appeared to be just a game, and that Mr Deery's court appearances were a bit of a distraction or entertainment.

Mr Deery's hopes that he could achieve anything by breaching the court's orders were fuelled by "a motley crew of fantasists," the judge said adding he did not know if these persons were "knaves or fools".

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Mr Deery, the judge said, had told the court he was not prepared to budge, when the issue of his imprisonment for contempt was previously reviewed by the court.

The judge said that if were the case that his stance meant that he would not acknowledge Wardglade's ownership of the property, but would nevertheless stay from the premises and leave the firm's directors in peace, it was not necessary for him to remain in Mountjoy.

The judge also awarded Wardglade its legal costs against Mr Deery.

Mr Deery heard the court's ruling via a video link form Mountjoy prison. He did not address the court during the hearing.

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