Belfast Telegraph

Bankrupt Cookstown man jailed for contempt

John Attwood appeared before Belfast High Court
John Attwood appeared before Belfast High Court

By Alan Erwin

A Co Tyrone man declared bankrupt has been sent to jail for six months for contempt of court.

The prison term was imposed on 52-year-old John Attwood after he failed to provide full co-operation about his financial affairs.

Proceedings were brought against him at the High Court in Belfast by the Official Receiver.

Madam Justice McBride imposed the prison term following a hearing on Tuesday, the Lord Chief Justice's Office confirmed.

Mr Attwood, with an address at Burnbank in Cookstown, was adjudicated bankrupt in November 2017.

Under insolvency legislation he was then required to provide full assistance to the Official Receiver.

However, it was claimed that he continually declined to cooperate, failed to attend for interview or to make the necessary disclosure of any assets.

Lawyers representing the Official Receiver sought to have his financial affairs examined in court.

Amid Mr Attwood's alleged continued refusal to answer questions contempt of court proceedings were initiated.

Despite being given a further chance to comply, he declined to take the opportunity.

Based on the relevant sentencing guidelines for contempt of court, Madam Justice McBride committed him to prison for six months.

Mr Attwood can still seek to be discharged from jail at any time by offering the necessary cooperation.

However, the court has yet to receive any notification that he intends to take the steps required to purge his contempt.

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