High Court sets aside €7 million judgement against Kildare stud farmer

Brannockstown farmer's ill health meant he couldn't remember being served with documents

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High Court sets aside €7 million judgement against Kildare stud farmer

Four Courts - file photo

The High Court has today set aside a €6.9m judgment order against a Co Kildare based stud farmer in favour of Bank of Scotland (BOS).

In his decision, Mr Justice Max Barrett, in setting aside the judgement made over three years ago against Eugene McDermott, said the bank's application for judgment should now be reheard.

The Judge said the judgment should be set aside because the applicant was in such a poor mental ill health at the time the bank applied for judgement that he had no recollection of ever having being served with the documents supporting the bank's claim.

As a result, he was not present in court in July 2013 when Mr Justice Peter Kelly entered judgment for €6,971,856 against Mr McDermott, of Kennycourt Stud, Brannockstown, Co Kildare.

Mr McDermott sought to have the judgment set aside on grounds including that in 2013 he was very unwell and with the pace of the proceedings was unable to get legal representation.

He claimed he was denied basic procedures and had a good defence to the bank's application that went unheard by the court.

In his ruling Mr Justice Barrett said Mr Justice Kelly was fully entitled to conclude on the evidence before him that Mr McDermott had been duly served with the documents.

However the court was now appraised with facts concerning Mr McDermott's health which in 2013 were unknown to Mr Justice Kelly.

In all the circumstances the Judge said he "could not persist with the view" that, despite the fact service of the documents was effected in a manner directed by the High Court, Mr McDermott had notice of the application for judgement heard by Mr Justice Kelly.

The Judge said as Mr McDermott is now fully aware of the bank's application the requirements of justice demand the bank's application for summary judgment should proceed swiftly.

The rehearing should be heard sometime later this year, Mr Justice Barrett concluded.

BOS sought the judgment against Mr McDermott arising from loans dating back to 2005 advanced for purposes including refinancing other loans, to acquire bloodstock and for stud developments.

In June 2012, the bank issued repayment demands under the various facilities, plus interest and fees.

When repayment was not made, it appointed a receiver over certain lands of Mr McDermott at Kennycourt, Brannockstown, mortgaged to the bank under a 1996 mortgage.