Subpoena issued requiring millionaire Michael Smurfit to attend action by former K Club manager

Peter Curran

By Ann O'Loughlin

Millionaire businessman Dr Michael Smurfit will have to attend the High Court to give evidence in the case of a former K Club manager who has sued alleging he was threatened at Punchestown Races.

A subpoena was today issued at the High Court requiring the businessman who lives in Monaco to attend the case.

A file picture of Michael Smurfit
A file picture of Michael Smurfit

The move came on the fifth day of the action taken by former K Club catering manager Peter Curran who has sued Dr Smurfit along with the exclusive five star K Club resort and a resort Superintendent, Gerry Byrne.

Peter Curran, Cahirciveen, Co Kerry has claimed on May 7, 2011 his way was blocked in the toilets at Punchestown Races and Mr Gerry Byrne allegedly said "Dr Smurfit has not forgotten the statements about him and the call girls. Dr Smurfit knows where to find you and this is not over."

The defendants have denied all claims.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr granted permission for a subpoena to be issued requiring the businessman who lives in Monaco to attend court.

It followed an application by Peter Curran’s legal team.

Kenneth Fogarty SC for Mr Curran said Dr Smurfit was on the schedule of witnesses for the other side and they wanted to know if he was going to be giving evidence.

If Dr Smurfit was not to called as a witness, the Counsel said his side intended to apply for a subpoena.

Mr Justice Barr said Dr Smurfit being on the list of witnesses means there was a clear intention to have him as a witness, but that did not stop the Curran side from issuing a subpoena.

Mr Fogarty said Dr Smurfit lives outside Ireland and he asked that they be allowed serve the subpoena on the solicitors for Dr Smurfit and also at Dr Smurfit’s Monaco address.

Rossa Fanning SC for Dr Smurfit said there were no legal authorities offered to the court in relation to a person living outside the jurisdiction.

Mr Justice Barr said he was satisfied once a party invokes the jurisdiction of the court as a defendant, he has made himself amenable to the court notwithstanding that he lives abroad.

The judge said it would be different if he was a stranger to the proceedings.

Cross examined by Gerard Danaher SC for the K Club yesterday Mr Curran said Dr Smurfit called him “Young Boy.”

He said he did admire Dr Smurfit but “then I saw another side to him.”

He said when you got in to the inner circle you learn from Dr Smurfit but you follow instructions. He said once during a European Open, then columnist Shane Ross wrote an article in which he intimated Dr Smurfit should retire.

Mr Curran said he was told by Michael Smurfit to take away copies of the Sunday Independent from the K Club.

"Dr Smurfit gives instructions you carry them out and if you don’t you get fired,” he said.

He said Dr Smurfit had asked him for "severe loyalty" on one occasion while he allegedly "squeezed my arm."

Mr Curran also said after he was dismissed he had been escorted off the K Club premises by two men, who he claimed were former British Army personnel. He said one of the men was a former SAS officer.

The two men, he said would "put the fear of God in anybody who is a threat to establishment."

Mr Curran was catering manager at the K Club between September 1997 and October 1998 when he claims he was forced to leave and later brought an unfair dismissal case which was settled in March 1999.

Mr Curran later brought High Court proceedings claiming alleged breach to his constitutional right to his good name and to earn a livelihood.

During the run up to that case in replies to written questions and particulars, relating to alleged financial irregularities he had allegedly uncovered at the K Club, Mr Curran made reference to call girls, sometimes sourced abroad, were given free use of the hotel facilities at the K Club.

Those High Court proceedings were settled in 2008 and it is claimed it was an implied term of the agreement Mr Curran would not be threatened, harassed or intimidated in any manner.

The case before Mr Justice Anthony Barr continues tomorrow.

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