Lawyer stung $18k over house sale

Last updated 05:51 25/03/2014

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Petone lawyer Brendan McDonnell has been ordered to pay nearly $18,000 in damages and costs for his part in trying to obstruct the mortgagee sale of Balgownie House in Naenae.

The 23-room historic home was sold last year by Cressida Capital One to recover more than $950,000 owed on a mortgage.

The house was owned by Twig Luxury Trustee Company, whose sole director and shareholder, Vanessa Mapp, tried to stop the sale by denying access to agents and prospective buyers.

Cressida sought a High Court order to remove her from the property.

A day after Cressida secured an unconditional sale contract on the house, Mr McDonnell, who was acting for Ms Mapp, filed a caveat that delayed settlement.

He provided no details to support it, and it was removed by High Court order three weeks later.

Cressida's claim for damages and costs was heard in the High Court last week.

Mr McDonnell did not file a defence and did not appear at the hearing.

Justice Jill Mallon said in a written decision that there was no basis for the caveat.

There was no evidence of why he might have had an honest belief on reasonable grounds that Ms Mapp had a caveatable interest in the property.

She ordered him to pay damages of $14,800 and $3100 costs.

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- The Dominion Post

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