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Bankrupt Armagh man jailed after refusing to co-operate with official receiver

Accused given six month term after being found in contempt of court

An Armagh man – judged bankrupt by the High Court in December 2017 – has been jailed after refusing to co-operate with the official receiver.

Colm McAuley, of Aghavilly Road, Armagh, was found to be in contempt of court.

Under insolvency legislation, bankrupts are required to co-operate fully with the official receiver.

But McAuley continually refused to do so and failed to attend for interview or to make a disclosure of his assets and affairs.

As a result of his refusal to co-operate, the official receiver applied to have McAuley examined in court.

He attended the High Court, but refused to co-operate with the court or answer any questions about his dealings, affairs or property.

Consequently, the official receiver brought forward contempt of court proceedings.

McAuley was repeatedly given the opportunity to co-operate with the court and the official receiver but refused to do so.

At a hearing in December past, he was, therefore, found guilty of contempt of court in that he failed to comply with the obligations required within insolvency legislation.

Accused was, on several occasions, assured that he was entitled to legal aid in respect of the contempt proceedings, but he refused all offers of assistance including legal representation.

On Monday, McAuley appeared once more in the High Court and was again given further opportunities to purge his contempt by co-operating with either the court or the official receiver.

He refused to take the opportunities afforded to him and said he would not co-operate with either.

In summing up, Lord Justice Stephens referred to the relevant sentencing principles in relation to contempt of court.

He sentenced McAuley to six months imprisonment.

It was indicated that the Armagh man could apply at any time to be discharged from prison on the basis that he would co-operate with the official receiver and comply with his statutory obligations.

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