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High Court dismisses Pete Taylor's bid for injunction over Bray Boxing Club

Taylor claimed the council is wrongfully trying to evict him and the club from a facility.

File photo - Pete Taylor
File photo - Pete Taylor
Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

THE HIGH COURT has dismissed boxing coach Pete Taylor’s bid for an injunction preventing Wicklow County Council from terminating his and Bray Boxing Club Ltd legal interest in the premises used by boxers in the town for several years.

In a judgement today, Mr Justice Senan Allen ruled that the company and Taylor were not entitled to any order against the council, pending the outcome of the full dispute between the parties.

Taylor, who is the father of Olympic and World Champion boxer Katie Taylor, claimed the council is wrongfully trying to evict him and the club from a facility, owned by the local authority, located at the Harbour Shed, Bray, Co Wicklow.

Taylor and Bray Boxing Club Ltd sought an injunction restraining the council from terminating their plaintiffs’ legal interest in their possession of the premises in the absence of a properly obtained court order.

The court heard the company, which was incorporated in 2015 is Bray Boxing Club’s successor in title and that Taylor is the company’s sole director.

The applicants claimed Taylor and the then local boxing club entered into an agreement to lease the club premises in 2007.

After the lease expired in 2015 he and the club remained on under a number of licence agreements.

The council opposed the application and had argued that the applicants have no proprietary entitlement to the premises and that the applicants’ case is unstateable.

In his decision Mr Justice Allen said it was not entirely clear precisely what the plaintiffs were seeking in their injunction application after they opted to limit the number of reliefs, they had original sought.

Broadly speaking, the judge said, the plaintiffs claim to be entitled to a legal estate or interest in the Harbour Shed premises.

What precisely or even generally that interest is, the judge said, was “rather elusive”.

He noted that the council disputes the plaintiffs’ claims they are entitled to an interest in the premises and an entitlement to a new lease, a periodic tenancy or a licence.

The judge said he “could not reconcile” the claim that plaintiffs and its predecessor were the only occupiers of the premises since 2005 with the fact it has been locked out of the facility following a shooting there in 2018.

The judge said that he was satisfied that even if there was a valid lease agreement for the premises, it had expired in 2015.

The judge noting the council’s position and its decision to serve an eviction notice last November, said he did not know of any conceivable basis the local authority might be restrained by the court from doing something it was lawfully entitled to do.

There was no evidence before the court that either the company or Taylor would suffer any catastrophic financial or reputation loss if the injunction was not granted, the Judge added.

The judge also noted that in the proceedings the company claimed to be the successor in title to Bray Boxing Club.

The judge said that there was no evidence before the court of any purported transfer of anything from the club to the company, nor any involvement of the members or trustees of the club in this litigation.

The action, the judge said, was brought by the company “on its own behalf for its own benefit”.

The judge said he could see “no reason” why the plaintiffs should not pay the legal costs of the application, given that they had abandoned most of their application “at the very last minute”.

However, he added that he was inclined to put a stay on any costs order pending the outcome of the determination of the full dispute.

The judge then adjourned the matter to allow the parties consider his decision.

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Shooting incident

Previously the court heard that the council changed the locks on the premises in June 2018 after three people, including Taylor were shot at the gym.

One of those shot, Bobby Messert was killed in the incident. Taylor, who was an innocent victim of the attack, as well as the member of the club have been out of the facility since then.

Shortly after the shooting the council changed the locks at the premises and informed the club that it was taking possession of the premises so it could be cleaned, fixed and restored for use as a sports’ facility.

Taylor claims the council used that violent incident as a “smokescreen” to unlawfully evict him and the club from the premises.

It was always his intention to return and operate the club as previously and the council was not entitled to retake the property.

In November 2020 Taylor said council had posted an eviction notice outside the premises giving them 10 days to vacate.

The company and Taylor sought injunctive relief as it was feared that the council may put another entity in the premises.

The council accepts that it changed the locks, but says neither Taylor nor Bray Boxing Club Ltd have any proprietary interest in the club premises.

The council denies any wrongdoing.

About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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