Peter Darragh Quinn in effort to stop Commercial Court proceedings against him

Thursday 18 April 2013 20.48
Peter Darragh Quinn is attempting to stop proceedings against him
Peter Darragh Quinn is attempting to stop proceedings against him

Seán Quinn's nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn, has written to the Commercial Court in an effort to stop proceedings against him by IBRC.

Peter Darragh Quinn, who fled the jurisdiction last year to avoid a three-month jail term for contempt of court, claims the Commercial Court should not proceed to assess a damages claim against him by IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank.

In a letter delivered to the Courts Service yesterday, Quinn claimed he was entitled to rely on the same defence as his cousins while not attending court due to the warrant out for his committal to prison.

He claims to have launched an appeal against the sentence to the European Court of Human Rights.

The letter states his address as Innishmore, Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh.

But lawyers for the bank said they had heard nothing about such an appeal.

A Supreme Court appeal was lodged but has not progressed as the solicitors who lodged it are no longer representing him, the court was told.

Today's case is separate to the contempt proceedings last year.

It follows judgment orders made in February against Quinn and a number of companies after they failed to attend the case or lodge a defence.

It was to be heard before the Commercial Court today for assessment of damages.

In the letter Quinn asks for "judgment to be deferred" as to proceed would be a breach of his right of appeal against the legality of his committal to prison.

However, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said judgement had already been entered against him after he offered no defence to the bank's case alleging asset-stripping of Quinn International Property Group companies.

The judge said Mr Quinn was under the misapprehension that judgment had yet to be issued in the case, whereas in fact it had been entered against him in February.

The court would now move to assess damages.

He also said the general principle applied that someone found in contempt of court could not be heard by a court until they had purged their contempt.

Otherwise it would make a nonsense of the finding if the contemnor had the same rights as others not found in contempt.

Senior counsel for IBRC Shane Murphy said any appeal against the finding of contempt last year was not relevant to today's application.

While Quinn said he was entitled to rely on the defence of other defendants, he had not filed a defence and made no attempt to address the issue.

The contempt proceedings had been adjourned from time to time.

They had been attended by Seán Quinn Snr and Seán Quinn Jnr, but Peter Darragh Quinn "remained at large", Mr Murphy added.

He asked that the case be adjourned to allow notice of the proceedings to be properly served on other defendant companies in the case.

The case returns to court on 14 May.