Man faces jail if he doesn’t leave home

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Man faces jail if he doesn’t leave home

A judge has warned a man who continues to live in his repossessed home that he may face prison if he does not vacate the property in the next seven days.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard yesterday in the Circuit Civil Court that Martin Tucker’s home at Danesfort, Castle Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin 3, had been repossessed by Havbell Dac in August 2018 after Mr Tucker failed to make repayments on his mortgage.

Barrister Gary Hayes, counsel for Havbell, told the court that Mr Tucker and his ex-partner had received a loan of €260,000 from Irish Life and Permanent plc in June 2003. Mr Hayes said that in November 2017 Mr Tucker had been in breach of his monthly repayments with arrears reaching €75,700.

The property had been taken into the possession of the Dublin Sheriff on March 21, 2019. Counsel said that on May 16, 2019, Mr Tucker re-entered the property accompanied by his pregnant partner without notifying Havbell or its solicitors.

Counsel also said Mr Tucker had broken into the property as he had no other way of accessing it as the locks had been changed. The court heard Mr Tucker had changed the locks after moving back into the home.

Judge Linnane told Mr Tucker of the serious consequences he would face if he did not agree to leave the property in the next seven days. She said he must also agree to hand over the keys to Havbell and remove the security system.

She said he had been in contempt of court and an application could be made to have him committed to prison if he did not agree to vacate and deliver up possession to Havbell.

Irish Independent

Widow settles case after death of husband from carbon monoxide poisoning for €170k

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Widow settles case after death of husband from carbon monoxide poisoning for €170k

A pensioner was overcome and died of carbon monoxide poisoning after he went to check on a house where petrol generators were turned on to power the heating of a newly constructed building.

Martin Flannery was found unconscious in his niece’s newly built house next door to his Mayo home four years ago. The house was being heated in advance of a first fix airtight test.

In the High Court this week, Mr Flannery’s widow Eileen settled an action over his death for €170,000.

An inquest in to the 66 year old man’s death recorded a verdict of accidental death. At the time the coroner said Mr Flannery was obliging his brother and his niece by checking on the house and sadly the effects were “devastating.”

The tragedy, Coroner John O’Dwyer said was compounded by the fact that most of those involved were related to one another.

Martin Flannery was found unconscious in a room at the back of the house and despite efforts to revive him, he was pronounced dead in hospital.

Mr Flannery’s wife of 42 years , Eileen Flannery, Kilkeeran, Ballinarobe, Co Mayo had sued Mr Flannery’s niece Laura Costello and her husband Declan Costello also of Kilkeeran, Ballinarobe, Co Mayo as a result of the accident on September 11,2015.

Mr Flannery was checking two petrol generators in the house his niece and her husband had built. The generators had been set up to heat the house before an air tight test.  Mr Flannery who had three children and four grandchildren was overcome and died of carbon monoxide intoxication.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to have any proper or adequate system of ventilation.

It was also claimed the house has been allegedly allowed to become toxic with carbon monoxide fumes and to constitute a serious hazard for those entering the premises.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to cordon off the house while  the generators were in use and until the place had been made safe for those entering the premises.

The claims were denied.

The house was at first fix stage in construction and had an air tight test scheduled for later that day. The house had to be heated before the test and two fan heaters and an oil heater were set up off two petrol generators, as electricity had not yet been connected to the house.

Both generators had been operated in the house the night before for about an hour and were switched off overnight.

The next day on September 11,2015 the generators were turned and checked on again . Mr Martin Flannery had checked in the generators at 10.30am and was due to check on them again after bringing his wife to the local town.

When the air tight specialist arrived to carry out his test at around 12.30 pm he switched off one of the generators. He noticed a smell and became woozy as he walked up the stairs . He left the house but on return he found Mr Flannery unconscious in a room at the back. He dragged the man outside but despite  efforts to revive him, Mr.Flannery was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Irish Independent

Estranged couple with €1.5m Spanish villa agrees to sell off house in Dublin

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Estranged couple with €1.5m Spanish villa agrees to sell off house in Dublin

A separated couple with a €1.5m Spanish holiday home have agreed to sell one of two Dublin properties they own in order to settle a €2m mortgage debt with KBC bank.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard in the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that Gerard May, who runs a roofing business, and his ex-partner Mary May had each been living at a different Dublin address following their separation.

The court was told that neither of the Mays had made mortgage repayments on either property from July 2016 to January 2019. Judge Linnane heard that a payment of €1,400 had been made in January before proceedings were issued in February of this year by KBC bank.

Barrister Padraic Hogan, counsel for Mr May, told the court that his client had been anxious not to sell his house at Coldwater Lakes, Saggart, Co Dublin, as it had been his main home.

Mr Hogan, who appeared with McCanny Solicitors, said Mr and Ms May owned a holiday home in Marbella, Spain, and hoped for an opportunity to sell the Spanish property in order to make a payment to KBC bank.

Judge Linnane said that due to the fact there had been someone else living in the Marbella home who had been paying its mortgage for the past few years, and that it had been signed over to Ms May, it could lead to a three-corner fight.

Following negotiations outside court, Mr Hogan told Judge Linnane that all parties had agreed to an order for possession being granted on the property at Woodstown Rise, Ballycullen Road, Knocklyon, Dublin 16, which had been occupied by Ms May.

Judge Linnane granted a six- month stay on the repossession order to allow time for the house to be sold.

Keith Rooney, counsel for KBC, told the court that the Mays had received a loan of €555,382 from KBC bank for the purchase of the Knocklyon residence, which now had arrears of €166,586.

Judge Linnane also heard that the Saggart property occupied by Mr May had been bought with a loan of €1.5m from KBC and now had arrears of over €700,000.

Mr Hogan was granted an adjournment on any decision on the application for repossession of the Saggart property. Counsel said he had a technical point relating to the fact Judge Linnane had not been provided with any official documentation to prove that KBC had a right to seek the money from the Mays after the bank changed its name to KBC Bank Ireland Plc.

Irish Independent

Man who suffered brain injury in one punch assault can reject €1 million award

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A 52-year old man who suffered a brain injury in a single punch assault on a Dublin street has been granted permission by the High Court to reject an award of over €1million by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.

Stephen Avery can now appeal the compensation award to a full sitting of the tribunal.

Mr Avery was the victim of an assault outside the City Arms Pub, Prussia Street, Dublin on October 27th, 2008. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and while he can walk, he needs care.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he thought it was in the best interests of Mr Avery to reject the award and to proceed by appeal. The judge hoped that appeal could be heard as quickly as possible.

The judge noted Mr Avery, who had been injured in an unprovoked attack, had brought separate proceedings against the pub but that case had previously settled for €30,000.

He also noted the attack occurred outside the pub and it could not be held responsible and Mr Avery’s claim was to the tribunal.

In a submission to the tribunal, Mr Avery’s side said he had been engaged in a minor scuffle earlier on in the night in question, but was punched in the face by a man who was not involved in the earlier altercation.

It said Mr Avery had been asked to leave the pub and walked out but was punched and hit his head on the pavement. A taxi driver witnessed the assault.

A man was arrested and charged with an offence under Section 4 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act and he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment with half of the sentence suspended for a period of three years.

In a written decision, the tribunal said there was no evidence before it that Mr Avery was in any way responsible for his injuries. It noted he had previous convictions in the UK relating to burglary and handling stolen goods in the 1990s but it was satisfied he had turned away from crime to a very large extent when he moved to Ireland in 2000.

Counsel for Mr Avery, Eoin McCullough SC said an award of €1.16m was made by the tribunal but his side contended a number of headings could be revisited.

Mr Avery now has poor balance and walks with a limp and has right sided weakness.

In an affidavit, Mr Avery’s sister Linda Milbank said her brother currently lives in the UK and she did not believe he understands the complexities involved in the appeal.She said he is not able to manage his own money and will need considerable care into the future.

Brother and sister showed siblings document they claimed was dead mother’s will

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A brother and sister who tried to defraud their siblings in their dead mother’s will have been warned by a judge to expect jail.

Adjourning passing sentence on David Lauro (50) and his 43-year-old sister Elaine Lauro at Craigavon Crown Court in Co Armagh, Judge Patrick Lynch QC said on Wednesday their offences “strikes at the very heart and foundation of decent family values”.

Remanding Mr Lauro into custody and freeing Ms Lauro on bail until Friday, the judge said she should use the time “to make suitable arrangements for your children”.

At an earlier hearing both Mr Lauro, a Scout leader from Hollybrook Grove in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim and his sister, from Lough Moss Park in Carryduff, Co Down, pleaded guilty to a count of fraud by false representation in that on February 26th, 2016, they told their siblings their deceased mother Anne Lauro “had signed an original will dated December 27th, 2015”.

Mother-of-three Elaine Lauro also confessed to a further offence of using a false instrument, namely a cheque for £167,000 (€185,000), with intent to induce Santander bank to accept it as genuine, a day earlier on February 25th.

Opening the prosecution case, Public Prosecution Service (PPS) counsel Nicola Auret confirmed that fraudulent cheque, written six days after Anne Lauro died from cancer, “would have cleared out” her account.

She described how the defendants “called a family meeting” on February 28th, 2016 when they showed their three siblings, a sister and two brothers, “a document which they claimed was the will of their dead mother”.

Ms Auret said the purported will set the defendants as executors and while it outlined there were properties and money to be divided among them, “in particular it was stated that the deceased’s business, Kavanagh’s, a long standing operating business, was to be given to the two defendants”.

It also bequeathed to Elaine Lauro a property in Co. Sligo valued at £154,000 (€170,000) and to David Lauro, a property in Co. Leitrim valued at £31,000 (€34,000).

The lawyer told the court that eight months later, in October 2016, the PSNI received a report from a brother Mark Lauro “his suspicions that the signature on the will had been forged,” prompting a criminal investigation.

His sister Diane Aston made a similar statement, “that she didn’t believe the signature was her mother’s”, so detectives seized the will purported to have been signed by Anne Lauro along with other documents which she had genuinely signed.

The police enquires also uncovered the cheque for £167,000 (€185,000) and Ms Auret said that after the will and all the other documents had been given to a forensic handwriting expert “he concluded that the signatures on both the will and the cheque were forged”.

The brother and sister were both questioned by police on July 10th, 2017 but they denied any fraud had taken place.

Elaine Lauro claimed her mother suffered from arthritis so she had written for her sometimes but Mrs Lauro “always signed the documents.”

She admitted lodging the £167,000 (€185,000) cheque which the bank had stopped but told police it had been her mother’s wish and claimed “she didn’t realise” she was wrong to lodge it after her death.

David Lauro claimed his mother had read the will “aloud and after this, he said he saw his mother sign it” before he signed as a witness.

Ms Auret said that in relation to the scale of the fraud, count two was “relatively easy” as it related to a forged £167,000 (€185,000) cheque but that in relation to the purported will “it’s not as easy to put a figure before the court.”

She told the court that in addition to the two properties in the Republic with the combined value of £185,000 (€205,000), the “long standing account” for the Kavanagh family business provided accounts for the last three years which showed the business had been operating at a loss.

There was however £14,000 (€15,500) of stock to be taken into account.

She added: “We submit that there’s a gross breach of trust in this case and that the fraudulent will has deprived the injured parties of ever knowing what their mother’s wishes actually were and what she actually wanted.”

Defence counsel Patrick Taylor, acting on behalf of Mr Lauro, conceded the fraud represented “an egregious breach of trust” but added: “I tentatively invite you to give some credence that there is a ring of truth to the assertion from the defendant that it was his mother’s wish that he and Elaine receive the business.”

He said that David Lauro, a father-of-five, and Elaine Lauro were the only two siblings who worked in Kavanagh’s, adding that while Mr Lauro maintains it was his mother’s wish to hand the business to the defendants, “he now accepts that this amount to a fraud…he had convinced himself he was acting to carry out his mother’s wishes”.

The lawyer highlighted that while a fraud was committed, “no money or property was obtained” and it was not committed over a prolonged period of time.

Conor Lunney, defence counsel for Elaine Lauro, said the offences had caused an “irrevocable split” in the family and he argued that given the “unusual background” to the case, coupled with the fact that Elaine Lauro is a single mother of three, it was an exceptional case despite the breach of trust.

“It’s no surprise to hear that she’s extremely concerned about the prospect of going to prison,” said the lawyer, who further conceded that his client “was the prime mover in relation to both signatures”.

Adjourning passing sentence to Friday, Judge Lynch told the lawyers he could not identify any features which would make the case exceptional and thereby justify potentially suspending any prison sentence.

“The court and any individual who heard the proceedings will be alarmed by the behaviour of the two defendants in this case that at what was a difficult time for the family that they should be conspiring to appoint themselves large sums of money,” said the judge.

Air-freshener firm sues Ryanair over ‘use of trademark’

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Air-freshener firm sues Ryanair over ‘use of trademark’

The company whose founder created the ‘Little Trees’ car air freshener claims Ryanair has infringed its registered trademark.

Julius Sämann Ltd says the airline used an image for its car-rental service which is virtually identical to its Little Trees trademark for its product used the world over as a vehicle air freshener.

The Little Trees air freshener was created in New York in 1952 by Julius Sämann, a German-Jewish chemist who fled the Nazis.

He had worked in the Canadian pine forests researching the extraction of aromatic oils from pine needles.

In Commercial Court proceedings, the company, with an address in Switzerland, says the stylised tree image was used by Ryanair in its car rental booking service and in emails sent to customers.

It seeks damages or an account of profits in relation to the alleged use of the trademark by Ryanair. The airline says it has ceased using the image and does not intend to use it again.

However, Julius Sämann Ltd says Ryanair was not prepared to give an undertaking not use it again.

The company, counsel said, was seeking a declaration that the trademark had been infringed.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton said “with some reluctance” he was admitting the case to the fast-track commercial list as it was a commercial dispute.

Irish Independent

Child who ‘cries at sight of bus’ loses court claim for €15,000

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Child who ‘cries at sight of bus’ loses court claim for €15,000

A young boy who allegedly stopped talking and would not let his mother get on a bus after a minor accident when he was a baby has lost a €15,000 damages claim against Dublin Bus.

Libyan national Rasha Akkazah sued Dublin Bus on behalf of her son, Mohammed Ali, who was aged 18 months and in a buggy travelling on a bus at the time of an accident two years ago.

Ms Akkazah, of North King Street, Dublin, gave evidence before Judge Michael Coghlan in the civil hearings list at Dublin District Court.

In cross-examination by Tracey Ennis Faherty, counsel for Dublin Bus, she accepted the buggy never moved during the incident. She agreed a doctor’s report was obtained in November 2017 saying: “No further investigation required”.

Another doctor’s report said the boy was drastically affected and “still cries at the sight of buses”.

The mother told the court the boy now has a reaction to buses. She now travels by Luas.

Counsel said CCTV evidence showed the child was in a buggy at the time of the incident and he did not move and was dangling his feet. Other passengers didn’t move when the bus braked.

Judge Coghlan said the CCTV footage showed the bus in a lurching motion as if it braked and he did not have any evidence of a collision. Dismissing the claim, he directed that the plaintiff has to pay the defendant’s costs.

Irish Independent

Uninsured taxi driver lost his livelihood through ‘stupidity’

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Uninsured taxi driver lost his livelihood through ‘stupidity’

A TAXI driver caught on the road without insurance had been banned at the time for penalty points offences.

Muhammad Maqsood (32) was one month into the six month ban that had been automatically imposed.

A court heard he had ended up without his livelihood because of his own “stupidity”.

Judge Gerard Jones fined him €600 but did not ban him again.

Maqsood, with an address at Ballyowen Way, Lucan, pleaded guilty to uninsured driving.

Blanchardstown District Court heard a garda on duty at Bothar na Life, Clondalkin, at 1.15pm last April 26 stopped the accused when he saw him driving.

Maqsood’s car had a taxi sign displayed and the garda asked him to produce his documents.

He gave an undertaking to produce them later at a garda station and failed to do so.

The accused admitted he had been banned from driving and had received notification some weeks earlier.

There had been an insurance policy in place at the time and he had been paying a premium.

He had no previous convictions to his name.

Maqsood had a licence but was given a six-month disqualification between March and September and he was one month into that at the time he was stopped, his solicitor Wayne Kenny said.

Driving was his livelihood, and now as a result of his own “stupidity” he was unemployed, Mr Kenny said.

The accused was married, came from Pakistan and had been living in Ireland for the past seven years.

He initially came here to study, Mr Kenny said.

Judge Jones fined the accused but decided not to impose any additional disqualification

Irish Independent

Flanagan rules out €60m extra for family law courts upgrade

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The impasse over plans for a new family law court has deepened after Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan flatly ruled out increasing the budget available for the project.

The Courts Service and the Department of Justice have been at loggerheads in recent months over the costs of the proposed facility at Hammond Lane in Dublin. Court officials put forward a plan costing €140m, which would include new family courts and a new Supreme Court, but the department has been unwilling to pledge more than €80m.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Flanagan ruled out bridging the €60m gap.

“I firmly believe the Government has made available a sum which is sufficient to allow for a state of the art family law headquarters to be built on Hammond Lane,” said Mr Flanagan. “I would like to see the cranes on site at the earliest opportunity.”

The minister’s firm stance leaves the Courts Service with few options other than to submit more modest plans.

It is believed that even if the Supreme Court element is dropped, the family law aspect of the proposals would still have to be scaled back to meet the €80m budget.

Mr Flanagan said his priority was for a family law and children’s court, as current facilities were unsatisfactory and there were “security issues”.

The impasse over funding came to the fore last May when Chief Justice Frank Clarke, who chairs the Courts Service board, hit out at “dreadful conditions” in family law courts.

Mr Justice Clarke insisted it would be “a complete waste of a valuable State resource” if Hammond Lane was “not to be developed to the maximum extent permissible”.

He also argued that moving the Supreme Court to the new building would free up space in the Four Courts, which he described as “beyond breaking point” due to capacity issues.

It is understood there have been communications regarding the future of the project since the Chief Justice’s intervention, and possible solutions are being examined.

Irish Independent

Ireland’s debt: €44,365 is owed by every man, woman and child in the State

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CSO numbers show burden is four times higher than pre-crisis levels

Even with the rapid turnaround in employment and growth, Ireland still has one of the highest per capita debt levels in the world.

Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures, published on Friday, show it equates to €44,365 for every man, woman and child in the State or nearly €90,000 for every worker in the economy.

The per capita figure is calculated by taking the State’s national debt – €215 billion – and dividing it by the Republic’s population.

While this represents a slight reduction from the peak of €47,514 in the first quarter of 2013, it is still more than four times higher than the pre-crisis level of €10,667 recorded in first quarter of 2007.

The Government has been repeatedly warned that having such a large debt pile leaves the economy more at risk to shocks such as Brexit.

The figures show that General Government Net Debt stood at €215.5 billion at the end of the first quarter of this year, which equates to 65.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), the standard measure of national income.

This compares with a debt level of 63.6 per cent of GDP at the end of last year. The increase in the debt ratio is due mainly to increased net issuance of short-term and long-term debt securities of €3.6 billion and €4.7 billion respectively, the CSO said.

The head of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) revealed earlier this month that the State has paid out more than €60 billion in interest on the national debt over the past decade.

That is three times the amount paid in the previous decade, NTMA chief executive Conor O’Kelly said.

The ultra-low interest rate environment has contributed to significant reductions in the amount of interest that the State is currently obliged to pay. The cost of servicing the debt has fallen to €5 billion this year, and will be in the region of €4.5 billion next year, some €3 billion less than it was in 2014.

The low rates have also allowed the NTMA to eliminate three so-called debt refinancing “chimneys” in 2018, 2019 and 2020 without any hiccups, putting the State’s debt refinancing requirements on a smoother trajectory.

Nonetheless experts and agencies warn that the European Central Bank’s low-rate policies will not last forever and that Ireland remains more acutely exposed to shocks and a cycle of rate rises because of its elevated debt level.

Mr O’Kelly said the only sustainable way of reducing the State’s monster debt was to continually run budget surpluses and to keep a tight rein on spending.