Tuesday 16 January 2018

'Appalling' - judge slams insurer who cancelled car cover of woman up for dangerous driving

Judge Patrick Durcan
Judge Patrick Durcan

Gordon Deegan

A judge has stated that it is "appalling" that an insurance firm has cancelled a driver's insurance policy after she was involved in an accident from which she is facing two driving-related charges.

The 39-year-old woman is pleading not guilty to a drink driving and dangerous driving charge and at Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan said: "This lady is an innocent person in the eyes of the court until proven otherwise."

Judge Durcan said the woman should contact the State agency that looks after consumer protection over her insurer withdrawing cover.

Her solicitor, Daragh Hassett, said it is the first such case he has come across and said his client has been off the road since February of this year because of the company's move.

"Given the withdrawing of cover, no other insurance company will quote her," he said.

"My client is now effectively held to ransom as she has been put off the road before any court has had an opportunity to adjudicate on the case."

Mr Hassett said the insurance firm has told him that the decision "is after considering 'the circumstances surrounding the accident' and is not contingent on any Garda prosecution".

He said: "To me that is a very unfair term as it totally subjective."

Mr Hassett said that when the case comes to court for hearing, his client will be fully contesting the charges.

"She has on my advice also referred the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman," he said.

"It appears to me to be a total deviation on the presumption of innocence charter and clearly such a condition should be 'red flagged' to people."

Mr Hassett said that his client wasn't aware it was a condition of the policy.

Irish Independent

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