By Cronan Scanlon
MILLIONAIRE Simply Red popstars Mick Hucknall and Chris De Margary today reached an out-of-court settlement with their neighbour over disputed hunting rights in Glenfin.
The pair were not at Letterkenny Circuit Court where their barrister, Peter Bland SC, told Judge John O’Hagan that a settlement had been reached with John Wilde, who runs a neighbouring estate.
Hucknall is currently in the studio recording but was ready to give evidence had the hearing gone ahead, however, both stars were instead represented by their estate manager, Sim Hay.
Two days had been set aside for the case this week.
When the case opened, Judge O’Hagan told both sides “Please put your heads together and sort this out” before adjourning the matter for an hour.
After almost three hours of private discussions, Mr Bland told the judge that his words were heeded and that they had reached a compromise.
“We have reached an agreement but it will remain confidential to both parties,” Mr Bland said.
The Donegal News understands that both Hucknall and DeMargary were happy with the settlement.
Wilde, who was present all morning along with his wife, daughter and mother, left the courtroom before the settlement was announced.
Judge O’Hagan congratulated both sides in the dispute for doing something “very, very sensible.”
“Life is about making things work as well as working in harmony and getting on in life,” the judge said.
He said both sides had made a “tremendous achievement” as he said people do not always get what they want.
“I always believe in luck and this settlement augurs well. Instead of court enforced orders, this is the way things should be done. I am delighted to have made time for these discussions as this case has been on the list for a long, long time.”
He continued: “I wish you every single bit of luck and that the birds are safe and people come to seek them out.
“One day, I might even appear myself to shoot at something, or maybe, I will throw a line in the river.”
Earlier in the day, Judge O’Hagan stressed that there had to be some “give and take” in legal disputes and that there was never going to be any winners.
“I want to put that message out there,” he told Mr Bland and Eoin McGonigal SC who was representing Wilde.
Evidence was given at a preliminary hearing in 2009, when Hucknall and De Margary claimed Wilde prevented their “quiet enjoyment” of shooting rights at their Glenmore Estate.
Wilde used to own the neighbouring Cloghan Lodge estate, however, he remained on as manager after it was bought by a consortium of businessmen for €9 million in 2008.
He claimed that he had inherited the hunting rights to both estates from his late father.
Hucknall and DeMargary purchased the shooting and fishing rights to the old Glenmore Estate from Leslie Mackie in 2005.
DeMargary lives in Welchtown along with this wife, Sarah Brown, who was a backing singer in the band.
In 2009, Judge O’Hagan said he would not “pre-judge” any future hearing by stopping Mr Wilde going on to the Glenmore Estate.
However, he said Mr Wilde should not interfere with shooting parties on the Glenmore Estate and Mr Hucknall and Mr De Margary would do likewise and stay away from parties on the Cloghan Estate until the matter came to court.
The Simply Red members have developed a large tourism business, attracting continental game-sports parties, since 2005.