‘Stigma’ over Pete Taylor since he’s been locked out of gym after fatal gun attack, court told

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THERE is “stigma” and “innuendo” left hanging over boxing coach Pete Taylor since he was stopped from using the premises where he trained athletes for 13 years, the High Court has heard.

Wicklow County Council changed the locks in the wake of a fatal shooting there and later issued an eviction notice against Mr Taylor’s company, Bray Boxing Club Ltd.

The premises was once used by Mr Taylor’s daughter Katie, who he trained to Olympic glory.

In court, a lawyer for Mr Taylor said his client’s reputation was being damaged by the actions of council.

Richard Kean SC made the comments during an application for an injunction restraining the council from terminating Mr Taylor’s legal interest in the possession of the premises in the absence of a court order.

The council issued a 30-day notice of eviction last November and has been approached by other boxing clubs who want to use the building.

Mr Kean told Mr Justice Senan Allen there was currently a “stigma” hanging over his client as a result of the council’s actions.

“The innuendo flowing from it relates to the shooting and that in some way he was at fault or in some way to blame. That is the reality of the reputational damage this is causing,” said Mr Kean.

Innocent patron Bobby Messett was shot dead and another gym user was injured during the gun attack at the premises on Harbour Road in Bray on June 5, 2018.

Mr Taylor also suffered a gunshot wound after tackling the gunman, but survived and is back training athletes following a period of
convalescence.

Mr Kean said Mr Taylor had been “exonerated” by An Garda Síochána and there was no suggestion he was in any way culpable for what
happened.

“Mr Taylor leaped at the gunman to try and protect two girls that were in danger, who had dived for cover. In the process of doing that he was shot himself,” Mr Kean said.

The application was opposed by Wicklow County Council, which claims Mr Taylor has no stateable case against it.

Esmonde Keane SC, for the council, also said the claim Mr Taylor has suffered reputational damage was “entirely speculative” and had nothing to do with the rights of the local authority to repossess the premises.

He rejected suggestions Mr Taylor had been denied access to personal belongings in the club, including an Olympic medal.

The injunction application is part of a wider case being taken by Mr Taylor in which he is seeking damages for being locked out of the club and wants to restrain the council from selling or leasing the building.

Central to the case is a dispute over unpaid rent and the sort of agreement that was in place for the use of the premises.

Mr Kean told the court there was a significant dispute in relation to the terms and whether these were subject to a lease, implied periodic tenancy or a licence.

The court heard that before 2005 the premises was a derelict storage unit.

Mr Kean said Mr Taylor retained the use of the building from the local council to promote a community-based boxing club, known at the time as St Fergal’s. Rent was agreed at €200 per annum under a lease in 2007.

The club went on to have considerable success, sending boxers Katie Taylor and Adam Nolan to the 2012 Olympics.

Following this success the building was redeveloped by the council at a cost of €385,000, €190,000 of which came from a government grant.

Mr Kean said Mr Taylor had made representations to then Taoiseach Enda Kenny and then sports minister Michael Ring to secure the funding.

Mr Justice Allen said he would issue a written judgment at a later date.

Online Editors

Source: Irish News