Restraint order for businessman

John Finn
John Finn
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A SUNDERLAND businessman has been hit with a restraint order.

John Finn, who ran Pallion Housing, has been ordered not to issue any claims or applications against housing group Gentoo in relation to a court case dating back four years.

In October 2007, Mr Finn admitted he and his company were behind publications on the controversial Dadsplace website.

He and Pallion Housing agreed to pay more than £100,000 in damages to Gentoo boss Peter Walls and other company employees for libel and harassment in what was believed to be at the time the UK’s biggest internet defamation payout.

Mr Finn and the firm were later ordered to pay £750,000 costs.

In July 2009, Pallion Housing went into administration and in June 2010, Mr Finn was declared bankrupt over the hefty unpaid court costs.

Over the last few months, Mr Finn has attempted on several occasions to apply to the court to set aside the order requiring him and Pallion Housing to pay damages and costs to Mr Walls and other Gentoo employees, which all failed.

In a bid to stop the series of complaints, Gentoo took action in the High Court, where last week a senior judge granted an extended civil restraint order against Mr Finn.

The order means he cannot make any claim or application in relation to the Dadsplace website or make an application to amend or change the order for the next two years.

If he wants to do any of the above, he must seek the permission of a High Court judge to do so.

In a statement, Mr Finn said: “Peter Walls and Gentoo are within their rights to bring action they think is fit.

“I reserve my right to respond when I have read the news article in full.”

Gentoo said it was pleased with the High Court ruling.

Deputy chief executive John Craggs said: “As someone who has already lost a vast amount of money through his involvement in the defamatory Dadsplace website, you would have hoped he had learned his lesson.

“It is now time for him to move on and allow us to use our resources for the benefit of the people of Sunderland.”