Wednesday 12 December 2018

Garda loses €60k claim after failing to satisfy judge that he and his son (5) had been knocked down by motorist

Declan O’Carolan, a detective garda, with an address in Skerries, Co. Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after his Circuit Civil Court action was dismissed. Pic: Collins Courts
Declan O’Carolan, a detective garda, with an address in Skerries, Co. Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after his Circuit Civil Court action was dismissed. Pic: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

A judge has thrown out a €60,000 damages claim by a detective garda, saying he had failed to satisfy her that he and his five-year-old son had been knocked off a racer bike by a motorist in Skerries, Co Dublin.

Judge Martina Baxter said Declan O’Carolan, a detective garda, of Skerries, had been riding a racing bicycle with his son, also Declan, sitting on the cross-bar. He alleged they were knocked down by motorist Ciara McLoughlin when her car hit the rear wheel of his bike.

Barrister Eamon Marray, counsel for Ms McLoughlin, of Skerries Rock, told the court she denied having hit O’Carolan’s bike and was well behind it when she saw him fall off. McLoughlin said she was at least five car lengths behind the bike when its rider fell.

She had stopped to help and it was then that she saw his son lying injured.  She had immediately called an ambulance at the request of O’Carolan. Earlier she had seen the boys legs before the bicycle and its riders fell. Mr O’Carolan had come back to her and said: “You did it.”

Judge Baxter, dismissing O’Carolan’s claim and awarding costs against him, said Mr O’Carolan claimed he and his son suffered personal injuries as a result of his bicycle having been struck on the rear wheel.

The judge said he had been cycling a light racing bike with his son on the cross bar.  The boy was not wearing a safety helmet and there was no safety seat on the bicycle for the boy to sit into.

Expressing concern for the lack of attention of O’Carolan to these basic safety considerations, Judge Baxter said the accident was understandably a very traumatic event for them.

Judge Baxter told Mr Marray, who appeared with Pembroke Solicitors, North Wall Quay, Dublin, that Ms McLoughlin had been very clear in her evidence that her motor car never came in contact with the bicycle and that she had been driving at a safe distance from it.

She felt Mr O’Carolan, who will be 39 on Thursday April 12th, had not discharged the onus of proof that his accident, in which he had suffered relatively minor injuries, had been caused by Ms McLoughlin.

The judge said witnesses called on behalf of Ms McLoughlin had been clear that no damage had been caused to the rear wheel of Mr O’Carolan’s bike.  Investigating Garda Robert O’Rourke said he had spun the rear wheel of the bike and had not seen any sign of a buckle, as alleged by Mr O’Carolan, in the wheel.

O’Carolan said he first noticed McLoughlin’s car when it was about a foot alongside him and he had shouted if she was trying to put him off the road. He said he had suffered a number of injuries the worst of which was an injury to his right knee. His son had suffered a head injury.

Judge Baxter, dismissing O’Carolan’s claim with costs against him, refused an application on behalf of O’Carolan to put a stay on costs pending consideration of an appeal to the High Court. Mr Marray had told the court a claim on behalf of the boy was pending in the High Court.

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