Former Wexford hurling captain Paul Codd warned as court grants injunction
A COURT has ordered former Wexford hurling captain Paul Codd not to interfere with the operations of the dairy farmer Philip Roche, who bought lands formerly owned by the Rathnure club man.
At Wexford Circuit Court last week, Judge Alice Doyle heard allegations that the new owner of the land at Rathphaudin had been subject to a campaign of harassment, trespass and threats.
Paul Codd was present in court to represent himself without solicitor or barrister, though he did have a stenographer present to record proceedings.
There was no sign of his uncle John Codd, also named on proceedings brought by Philip Roche and his firm, Monamolin Dairies Limited of Monamolin.
The nephew described John Codd as an elderly man who had never been in court in his life and who was not very well.
The land at the heart of the case comprised 27.66 hectares in the townland of Rathphaudin in Clonroche which formerly belonged to the respondent.
Proceedings were followed by Philip Roche, who attended the court with his wife.
They heard their barrister David Bulbulia outline the history of the property which became subject to a number of charges.
As a result, it was put into the hands of a receiver called in by a company, Emberton Finance.
Emberton sold it to Monamolin Dairies Limited, the firm set up by the Roches for the running of their business.
Monamolin Dairies was formally entered on the Land Registry as owner of the property on August 23.
However, previous owner Paul Codd appeared unhappy with this and continued to maintain that he was the owner, said Mr Bulbulia.
An affidavit was read on to the court record which outlined his clients' version of what happened next.
The judge was told that Mr Roche attempted to put up gate piers but found they had been bent over when he returned, while chains and locks which he put in place were cut.
He found cattle which were not his grazing on his recently acquired fields.
On one occasion, according to the affidavit, four vehicles drove uninvited into his yard containing 14 men.
He was warned off the land and told that, if he did not heed the warning, things would get worse.
He reported this incident at New Ross garda station but the cattle continued to trespass.
He then arrived one morning to find they had gone but they were back later that day, along with a low loader and a digger.
Earth was being moved to block an entrance.
The court heard a description of how around 20 men surrounded Mr Roche's vehicle and banged on windows.
It was stated that Paul Codd was present as threats were made against Philip Roche and his family.
On August 29, the man from Monamolin examined six tags on the cattle and it appeared that they were all the property of John Codd.
A sign had been erected which displayed the message 'Trespassers Will Be Shot' in clear view of anyone using the public road.
At one stage, reported Mr Bulbulia, Paul Codd tendered an invoice seeking payment of €25 million for trespass.
The affidavit continued with an account of what occurred at the disputed lands on September 12.
It was stated that Philip Roche arrived with his brother to find Paul Codd present, while a tractor and a loader were also on site.
The brothers were ordered off, with 15 people showering abuse on them and telling them to 'go back to the mountain'.
The judge was told that trespass and threats continued since.
Also in court was an affidavit from Paul Codd which repeatedly asserted that the land in question was held by a private trust.
As a result, he reasoned, the sale to Monamolin Dairies was not valid.
However, Judge Doyle ruled that the lawful owner of the property was the company, adding that the behaviour of Mr Codd's 'servants or agents' had been inexcusable.
She made it clear that the court would not stand by when people took the law into their own hands.
Paul Codd responded by telling the court he gave no instructions and he made a gesture of showing her a clean pair of hands.
The judge said that such actions had to stop and that cattle must be removed.
An injunction was granted to the plaintiffs requiring no further trespass on the lands or on any other property of the plaintiffs.
She made it clear that there were to be no more signs and no locks or chains to keep Mr Roche out.
There was to be no more harassment or intimidation of the Roche family.
The order arising from the court's decision was to be put up on a notice to be exhibited on the land and it was to be communicated to John Codd.
Paul Codd left the courtroom after indicating his intention to appeal the matter.