Receivers back in possession of Kingston farm amid claims of trespassing

Bank appointed receivers have regained possession of the farm belonging to the Kingston family, former winners of RTE’s ‘Ireland’s Fittest Family’, the High Court has heard.

Last Thursday receivers, Kieran Wallace and David Swinburne of KPMG secured a temporary High Court injunction against Mr Peter Kingston, his wife Mrs Tracey Kingston, and their son Richard Kingston in respect of their 170ac farm at Craden Hill, Nohoval, Co. Cork.

The injunctions were sought after the receivers claimed the Kingstons had, earlier this month, unlawfully re-taken possession of the farmland Mr Swinburne and Mr Wallace had taken charge of last December.

The retaking of the farmland was something the Kingstons were not entitled to do and they were trespassing, it was claimed.

Today (Tuesday) when the matter returned before the court the President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly was informed the receivers had regained possession of the farmland last Friday.

Stephen Byrnes Bl for the receivers, who was appointed by ACC Loan Management said that the injunction was being complied with.

Peter Kingston told the court he was somewhat taken by surprise by the receivers proceedings as he had been away on a “religious retreat”.

He accepted Mr Justice Kelly’s contention the matter had not “come out of the blue” given there had been correspondence with the receiver’s lawyers prior to the injunctions being sought.

Peter Kingston said he went back onto the land to deal with ragwort growth and to feed some 25 cats on the farm.

Kingston, who said he wanted to add the bank to the proceedings, also said that he “took exception” to certain claims made on behalf of the receivers.

These included that the farm, which included 1,000 head of cattle, was in a poor state of affairs and required considerable expense to rectify, when they took possession of it late last year.

He said some 11 cattle had died in the six months prior to him handing over possession last December. Since the receivers took possession some 200 had died, he said.

Mr Byrnes told the court that any suggestion the farm was not in a poor state with they took possession last year would be “hotly contested,” by his clients.

Mr Justice Kelly agreed to adjourn the case for two weeks, with the injunction to remain in place against all parties. This was to allow prepare a sworn statement in response to the receivers claims. An application to have the injunctions put in place pending the outcome of the action will be heard on that date, the President said.

The injunction requires the Kingstons to return possession of the farmland to the receivers. They were also prevented from interfering with the receiver’s work and could not place any cattle on the lands. The receivers had claimed that the Kingstons had threatened to put cattle back on the land.

ACC, which is owed €2.4m by Peter and Tracey Kingston, arising out of two mortgage agreements the parties had entered into in 2007 and 2008. The farmland was put up as security for the mortgages.

After a demand for repayment was not satisfied ACC secured judgment against the couple, and appointed receivers over the farmland. The Kingstons did not challenge the receiver’s appointment.

The Kingston’s farm was at the centre of separate but related High Court proceedings earlier this year.

In April, Cork County Sheriff Sinead McNamara, who was in the process of selling the Kingstons herd of 1000 cattle, secured injunctions against businessman Jerry Beades and his New Land League group.

It was claimed Mr Beades and members of his group had engaged in protest over the proposed sale of the Kingston’s. The Sheriff sought and was granted an injunction by the High Court preventing anyone interfering with the auction.

It was claimed Mr Beades and members of his group turned up outside the farm resulting in considerable disruption to the sale. Mr Beades opposed the application and denied any wrongdoing. The Kingstons were not parties to that action.

By Aodhan O’Faolain

CLASSIFIED ADVERTS