A GARDA who suffered a back injury when his patrol car was rammed by a stolen car during a high-speed chase has been awarded €789,000 by the High Court.
Noel Kevane (43) of Roscarberry, Cork, has had "a torrid time" since the 1999 crash, the judge in the case said.
The father of three had a "spontaneous nervous breakdown" five years after the accident and retired from the gardai in November 2009 due to depressive illness.
Mr Justice Hanna ruled Mr Kevane was injured in the line of duty during the chase and this was the cause of his later physical and mental difficulties.
He was entitled to be compensated under the Garda Compensation Act, the judge said.
Included in the total award of €789,000 was €290,000 for loss of earnings to date and €100,000 for the future as, the judge said, Mr Kevane would be able to work again. General damages were also assessed at €100,000.
Mr Kevane, who had been stationed in Cork city and later Dunmanaway station, suffered a back injury in May 1999 when the stolen car that gardai were in pursuit of rammed the garda car at Cahir, Co Tipperary.
Mr Kevane claimed the patrol car had been rammed intentionally by the driver of the stolen car and he suffered injuries.
He returned to office desk duties and in 2001 was transferred to Dunmanaway station.
The judge said in January 2004 Mr Kevane's two colleagues were badly assaulted and as a result there was a significant increase in his workload. In July 2004, the judge said, while walking on the beach with his wife Fiona, Mr Kevane had a "spontaneous nervous breakdown".
A separate case in relation to Mr Kevane's departure from the force was settled with provision of a special pension.
Mr Kevane, the judge said, was most affected by what had happened and he felt his life had been turned upside down after he suffered back pain.
The judge said the crash injuries had life-long implications for Mr Kevane, who has had a promising career cut short.