Saturday 24 June 2017

Gardaí at alleged car crash which led to nine people putting in whiplash claims 'saw no collision debris'

Stock photo
Stock photo

Tim Healy

Two gardai called to an alleged traffic accident which led to nine people putting in claims for whiplash told the High Court they saw no collision debris at the scene.

Garda Colm Dolan and Detective Garda Ciaran Marks were giving evidence on the fourth day of an appeal against the awarding of between €3,000 and €8,500 compensation to seven of the nine for neck and back injuries arising out of the August 2008 accident on country road near the border at Silverstream in Monaghan.

All nine, along with a tenth man who did not sue, were travelling for a night out at the dogs in Dundalk when they say a car hit the bus from behind and sped off without anyone getting its registration.

The brought the case against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) which compensates victims of uninsured or untraced drivers.

The nine who sued were the bus driver David Morgan (40), Paul Campbell (38), his wife Deidre Campbell (40), Lyndsey Gervin (33), her sister Amanda Gervin (44),  Joanne McGirr (35), her sister Fiona McGirr (38),  Kevin Kernaghan (43), all from Coalisland, and Bernadette McBride (58), mother of Ms Campbell, from Glasslough, Co Monaghan.

All except Mr Campbell and Mr Kernaghan were awarded between €3,000 and €8,500 compensation in the Circuit Court which the MIBI appealed to the High Court.  

Mr Campbell and Mr Kernaghan lost in the Circuit Court and cross-appealed.

All appeals were heard together by Ms Justice Marie Baker who, following the completion of evidence on Wednesday, reserved her decision.

Garda Dolan told the court when he arrived on the scene at around 8pm, everybody was out of the bus and the driver, Mr Morgan, seemed upset and nervous.  

The only information about the car which allegedly hit the bus came from Mr Morgan and all he could remember was it was green, or maybe blue, the garda said.

Other than a small dent on a step at the back of the bus, the officer could find no evidence of collision debris, which he would have expected to find, in or near the vehicle.

Det Garda Ciaran Marks said he likewise found no debris such as glass which you would typically expect to look for at the scene of a collision. 

Asked about the evidence of Paul Campbell, who said he had pointed out glass to one of the officers, both gardai said no one had pointed out any debris to them.

Fintan Smith, a claims handler with FBD Insurance, which had been allocated this case on behalf of the MIBI, said a Facebook page which contained information about one of the nine, Lyndsey Gervin, was completely public up until just after she gave evidence some two weeks ago.

Ms Gervin had told the court she had not been able to go back to the gym because of the 2008 accident.  

But her Facebook entries showed in 2013 she was back in the gym, the court heard.

She had claimed her Facebook profile was private but Mr Smith said he had accessed it the evening after she gave evidence and it had been public up until shortly after she was recalled to give evidence about the 2013 entries.

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