Tuesday 25 July 2017

Voice contestant who gave 'false and misleading evidence' awarded €18k over traffic incident

John McCormack, pictured leaving the Four Courts after he was awarded €18,000 damages following a Circuit Civil Court action.Pic: Collins Courts
John McCormack, pictured leaving the Four Courts after he was awarded €18,000 damages following a Circuit Civil Court action.Pic: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

A singer/songwriter, who gave “false and misleading evidence and sought to mislead the medical profession almost at every turn,” has been awarded €18,000 damages for injuries he suffered in a road traffic incident.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, rejecting an application to throw out John McCormack’s personal injuries claim, felt he would be doing an injustice to McCormack because of a psychiatric history.

John McCormack pictured leaving the Four Courts after he was awarded €18,000 damages following a Circuit Civil Court action.Pic: Collins Courts
John McCormack pictured leaving the Four Courts after he was awarded €18,000 damages following a Circuit Civil Court action.Pic: Collins Courts

Tom Clarke, counsel for Mr McCormack (65), said he had been injured when an unidentified driver had twice rammed his car in a double bid to pass him out at Greenfort Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin.

Mr Clarke, who appeared with solicitors Maguire McClafferty, told the court it may have been McCormack’s psychiatric and depressive background that may have caused him to act as he did with doctors.

Barrister Frank Martin, counsel for the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland, told the Circuit Civil Court that McCormack, of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin, had actively appeared on a television talent show and performed at gigs in Dublin after having told doctors he had been “permanently crippled” in the car crash.

Mr Martin, who appeared with Tormeys Solicitors, told the Circuit Civil Court his claim for damages arising out of a road traffic incident on May 2, 2012 was McCormack’s “fourth visit to the well of compensation.”

Robert McQuillan, consultant in emergency medicine, said that when he examined Mr McCormack at Blackrock Clinic he had put on “a performance” of jerky digitilised movements of a man in severe pain who had hobbled into his examination rooms leaning on a stick.

“He told me he was permanently crippled and that if he moved it would kill him and that his back was jammed,” Mr McQuillan said.  “He moved slowly with a lot of grimacing and groaning.”

He said that later he had viewed footage of a video taken 45 minutes after Mr McCormack had left his clinic by a private detective on behalf of the MIBI.  There was no resemblance to the man in the video, walking upright without a stick and bending over to get into his car and the man he had seen earlier in the Blackrock Clinic.

Mr McQuillan told the court that Mr McCormack had been “grossly inventive” of his symptomology and condition.

Professor John P. McIlwaine said he had examined Mr McCormack on behalf of the Injuries Board and clinically it had not been possible to examine him.

“He wouldn’t get out of the wheelchair (he had been supplied with at reception) and said he was in so much pain he could not do anything,” Prof McIlwaine said.

He said he had afterwards viewed a video of McCormack when he had taken part in RTE’s Voice of Ireland television show, following his complaints.

“He was holding the microphone in his right hand, able to walk around and hyper extend his leg. I didn’t get the impression he was in significant pain,” Prof McIlwaine said.

When questioned by Mr Martin about his television appearance and videos of himself he had posted on YouTube, Mr McCormack said he had good days and bad days and often felt much better after having applied a morphine patch.

McCormack said his car had been hit twice in the ramming incident and had to be written off.  He said he had written more than 400 songs and had made an album following the accident.  He posted old singing videos of himself on YouTube.

He said his heroes were Elvis Presley and Inglebert Humperdink and compared his musical recordings following the accident with David Bowie who, he said, had made his final album while suffering from cancer prior to his death.

Mr Clarke submitted a psychiatric report on Mr McCormack to the court and stated his condition may have contributed to the manner in which he had dealt with doctors during medical examinations.

Judge Groarke, awarding him €18,000 damages, said it was accepted he was involved in an accident in which he had been hit twice and the car had been written off.

He said the law did not require him to dismiss a case where there was  exaggeration and misleading evidence if such a dismissal would result in an injustice being done.  Mr McCormack, whatever of his behaviour with doctors, had been injured and was entitled to be compensated.

Judge Groarke said Mr McCormack had given false and misleading evidence and had sought to mislead the medical profession almost at every turn but felt it would be unreasonable and harsh on his part if in the circumstances he were to dismiss his case.

“I have to keep in mind that, despite Mr McCormack having failed to attend doctors for little or no medical treatment, the court is dealing with someone who has a psychiatric condition.”

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