Hoons, pig dogs, four wheel drives and firearms. The trappings of your average urban bankruptcy are far removed from this exemplar of the trustee’s eclectic lot, which involves rural properties and an estate unresolved after almost 20 years.
In this case trustee in bankruptcy Schon Condon, in whom the property of former bankrupt Evan Alfred Cleaver vests despite Cleaver’s discharge in 2009, had the agreement of Cleaver’s siblings to sell two properties west of Bathurst and east of Parkes.
“I am concerned that there have been a number of reports/complaints … of “hoons” entering onto the Rockview property and “tearing up the soil” with their “pig dogs and four wheel drives.” I do not suggest these “hoons” are in any way related to the Respondent or agents of the Respondent, however I am concerned that if these hoons remain at the property, they will diminish the value of the land thereby bringing about a smaller return to the bankrupt estate, and the co-owners.” Trustee in Bankruptcy Schon Condon.
But communications with the former bankrupt in respect of taking possession of the properties were, as the judgment of Robert Cameron of the Federal Circuit Court shows, vexed.
“Attempts were made to contact Mr Cleaver to ascertain his position in respect of the Properties, which the Trustee detailed in his affidavit,” the judge said.
“The Trustee deposed that the realisation of Mr Cleaver’s interests in Properties might be sufficient to annul his bankruptcy and to achieve a surplus that could be paid to him.”
In his application for orders for possession that produced the judgement in Condon (Trustee), in the matter of Cleaver (Bankrupt) v Cleaver  FedCFamC2G 305, Condon further deposed that the only contact his office had had with the former bankrupt had been on 2 June 2022 when Cleaver rang Condon’s lawyer Daniela Fazio seeking a short extension of time to “complete harvesting”.
“An extension to 1 July 2022 was granted and communicated to Mr Cleaver by letter,” the judge continued.
“On 4 July 2022 a paralegal for the Trustee sought to ascertain if Mr Cleaver had vacated the property and Mr Cleaver advised that he had a couple more hours of packing up and had left some farm machinery at “Rockview Cookamidgera” which he would collect around October or November 2022.
“The Trustee deposed that he had attempted to telephone Mr Cleaver on 26 October 2022 and 15 November 2022 to ascertain his current residential address but had received no response.”
Visits to the properties by Condon’s agents revealed that while Cleaver appeared to have vacated the premises he’d been occupying, an unknown party had erected a fence around the perimeter making it impossible to access the front door of the dwelling.
The other property – “Rockview Cookamidgera” – appeared abandoned, though there was evidence of activities by unknown individuals that gave Condon cause for concern.
“I am concerned that there have been a number of reports/complaints … of “hoons” entering onto the Rockview property and “tearing up the soil” with their “pig dogs and four wheel drives”, Condon said.
“I do not suggest these “hoons” are in any way related to the Respondent or agents of the Respondent, however I am concerned that if these hoons remain at the property, they will diminish the value of the land thereby bringing about a smaller return to the bankrupt estate, and the co-owners.”
Condon added that the unidentified “hoons” however cared sufficiently about the sanctity of their bolthole to advise the uninvited that “Trespass [sic] will be shot.” Unsurprisingly Condon was granted the orders he sought.