Sunday 25 September 2016

Judge strikes out claim as he directs gardai to investigate if road accident was staged

Ray Managh

Published 09/11/2015 | 13:38

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The President of the Circuit Court today directed that the gardai investigate a road traffic injury claim after having been told that Zurich Insurance had pleaded fraud in a full defence.

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Barrister Paul Murray, counsel for the insurance company, told Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that a personal injuries claim by Patrick Ward was being withdrawn and could be struck out.

Mr Murray, who appeared with DAC Beachcroft solicitors, said there had been no agreement regarding the withdrawal of the case by Mr Ward, of Hillcrest Avenue, Leigh, Lancashire, who claimed he had been hurt while visiting family in Co Galway.

Ward had sued his sister-in-law, Catriona Connors, of Crumlin, Ballyglunin, Tuam, alleging he had been injured when her car had hit a bridge on a dark, frosty night on a narrow bog road.

She had said in a garda statement that the car had skidded when she attempted to brake and said there had been four other passengers, including a baby, in the car.

Zurich Insurance, in a full defence on behalf of the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland, had claimed the proceedings were fraudulent and arose from a staged accident.

The Defence claimed the car involved had, on inspection, shown signs of not having been used for some time and had been incapable of being driven as the clutch had not been operating and there was no power drive to the wheels when it allegedly hit the bridge.

Zurich claimed that while there was evidence of damage as a result of a collision with the bridge a damaged towing hook had been found attached to the car consistent with it having been towed to the area and “towed into the bridge.”

Judge Groarke asked Mr Murray if it would assist by his directing an investigation by the gardai into the claim and when told it would the court directed that an investigation be carried out.

He directed that the claim be struck out.

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