Co. Londonderry Directors agree to Disqualification

Date published: 15 November 2019

The Department for the Economy has accepted disqualification undertakings from the directors of a licensed restaurant business.

Insolvency Service

The undertakings were received for six years from Martin Peter Getty (40) of Carn Manor, Londonderry, and six years from Kerry Scullion (46) of Edenvale, Londonderry, in respect of their conduct as directors of Regent Hospitality Limited.

The Company operated licensed restaurants, under the trade names of The Classic Wine Bar and The Classic Bistro from both Main Street, Limavady, and Springtown Industrial Estate, Londonderry, and went into liquidation on 28th July 2016 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £562,820.  After taking into account the losses incurred by members (the shareholders) of the Company the estimated total deficiency was £562,822.

The Department accepted the disqualification undertaking from Martin Peter Getty on 24th October 2019 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:

  • causing and permitting Regent Hospitality Ltd to retain Crown monies in the sum of £358,547.73 from 2012/13 to the date of liquidation and to operate a policy of discrimination against the Crown;
  • causing and permitting Regent Hospitality Ltd to misuse its bank account by providing insufficient funds to honour cheques and direct debits and permitting cheques and direct debits to be presented at a time when insufficient funds were retained in the account;
  • causing and permitting Regent Hospitality Ltd to fail to maintain and/or preserve and/or deliver up proper books of account;
  • causing and permitting the Company to fail to comply with statutory obligations in that annual accounts for the years ended 31 July 2013 and 31 July 2014 were not filed within the prescribed period and annual accounts for the year ended 31 July 2015 were never filed; and
  • causing and permitting the Company to fail to comply with statutory obligations in that annual returns for the periods ended 25 July 2013 and 25 July 2014 were not filed within the prescribed period and the Annual Return for the period ended 25 July 2015 was not filed.

The Department accepted the disqualification undertaking from Kerry Scullion on 24th October 2019 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:

  • causing and permitting Regent Hospitality Ltd to retain Crown monies in the sum of £301,699.81 from 2012/13 to the date of liquidation and to operate a policy of discrimination against the Crown;
  • causing and permitting Regent Hospitality Ltd to misuse its bank account by providing insufficient funds to honour cheques and direct debits and permitting cheques and direct debits to be presented at a time when insufficient funds were retained in the account;
  • causing and permitting Regent Hospitality Ltd to fail to maintain and/or preserve and/or deliver up proper books of account;
  • causing and permitting the Company to fail to comply with statutory obligations in that annual accounts for the years ended 31 July 2013 and 31 July 2014 were not filed within the prescribed period; and
  • causing and permitting the Company to fail to comply with statutory obligations in that annual returns for the periods ended 25 July 2013 and 25 July 2014 were not filed within the prescribed period and the Annual Return for the period ended 25 July 2015 was not filed.

The Department has accepted six Disqualification Undertakings in the financial year commencing 1st April 2019.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Insolvency Practitioners acting as voluntary liquidators, administrative receivers and administrators have a duty to report unfit conduct to the Insolvency Service within the Department for the Economy.
  2. The aim of the Department is to bring disqualification proceedings against those directors of failed companies who have abused the privilege of limited liability status through negligence, incompetence or lack of commercial probity. The legislation contained in the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 (“the 2002 Order”) is for the protection of the public and trading community but its operation should not inhibit genuine enterprise.
  3. In cases where a person is subject to either a Disqualification Order made by the Court or a Disqualification Undertaking accepted by the Department, that person shall not be a director of a company, act as a receiver of a company's property or in any way, whether directly or indirectly, be concerned or take part in the promotion, formation or management of a company unless he has the leave of the High Court. A disqualified person cannot obtain permission to act as an Insolvency Practitioner.
  4. Article 9 of the 2002 Order provides that where a director is found to be unfit he must be disqualified for a minimum period of two years, up to a maximum of fifteen years. The Courts have decided that the level of seriousness of unfit conduct can fall into three brackets with the top bracket of periods over ten years reserved for particularly serious cases, six to ten years reserved for cases which do not merit the top bracket and two to five years for cases where, although disqualification is mandatory, the case is less serious.
  5. The 2002 Order also allows directors, with the agreement of the Department, to avoid the need for a court hearing by offering an acceptable Disqualification Undertaking. This has exactly the same legal effect as a Disqualification Order made by the court, and will usually include a schedule identifying the director’s unfit conduct. The consequences of breaching a Disqualification Undertaking are the same as those for breaching a Disqualification Order.
  6. If anybody contravenes a Disqualification Order or breaches their Disqualification Undertaking they may be committing a criminal offence and could go to prison for up to two years or face a fine or both. Any person with information to suggest that a disqualified person has acted in contravention of this provision should contact The Insolvency Service’s Directors Disqualification Unit on 028 90 548582.
  7. The period of disqualification commences at the end of 21 days beginning with the day the Disqualification Undertaking was accepted by the Department.
  8. For media enquiries contact DFE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  9. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI

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