Tuesday 12 November 2019

Judge criticises 'relentless' dishonesty of claimant as she dismisses action over hotel window fall

Jason Platt pictured arriving at the Four Courts
Jason Platt pictured arriving at the Four Courts

Aodhan O Faolain

The dishonesty of an English man who sued a Kinsale hotel for injuries sustained when he fell out a window was "relentless" a Judge said today.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine said Jason Platt gave misleading evidence and acted in a determined  fashion “to literally rob the defendants of what by any standards was a colossal amount of money."

The judge was handing down the decision of the Court of Appeal to dismiss Mr Platt’s appeal against a decision of the High Court two years ago to dismiss the entirety of his action relating to his fall from a third floor window of the Old Bank House Kinsale while on a Valentine's weekend away in 2009.

Ms Justice Irvine said Mr Platt's "false and misleading evidence was no once off rush of blood to the head."

His dishonesty, she said was "repeated and determined."

Jason Platt from Liverpool had claimed he could not live independently following the accident when he fell seven metres on to a roof below.

He claimed he was housebound but video footage filmed in 2015 showed him leaving his house, shopping and driving his car.

He claimed  he suffered the life changing injuries and has to use a wheelchair and crutches after falling out the window of the Old Bank House, Pearse Street, Kinsale  as he attempetd to flick ash from a cigarertte.

The hotel owners contended Mr Platt threw himself from the window of his guest room following a heated argument with fiancee. Mr Platt had sued OBH Luxury Accommodation Ltd with offices at Pearse Street, Kinsale and company director Ciaran Fitzgerald as a result of the accident.  

The High Court had found Mr Platt had  exaggerated his disability following the incident to maximise his claim for £1.49 million in special damages.

He had also claimed for aids included a powered wheelchair, a specially adapted car  and the services of a cleaner, gardener and skilled handy man.

Read More: Man's €1.9m damages claim for fall through third floor hotel bedroom window is dismissed

Handing down the three judge Court of Appeal decision today Ms Justice Irvine said she was fully satisfied  the finding of the trial judge that Mr Platt gave evidence that was false and misleading in a material respect knowing it to be false is well supported by the evidence.

"Mr Platt's own evidence was designed to depict him as a man who had suffered relentless pain and enjoyed little or no independent mobility and that this would be his plight for the rest of his life.

"If believed he stood to recover an award of general damages at the very upper end of awards and in circumstances where awards of that nature are reserved for those  who are truly catastrophically injured. The video evidence disclosed a very different picture of Mr Platt's injuries," the judge said.

Referring to the claims for stg£1.49million, Ms Justice Irvine said Mr Platt might have extracted it by way of settlement in advance of trial or by a court award had it not been for the astute and significant surveillance deployed by the defendants "which ultimately unearthed his dishonesty".

She added: “Mr Platt is precisely the type of plaintiff which the Oireachtas sought to target when it enacted Section 26 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.

"His dishonesty Was relentless. He gave misleading evidence and provided details of a claim for past and future loss which went to the heart and very core of his claim."

Read More: Secret footage shows man who claimed he suffered 'life changing injuries' after hotel window fall 'shopping and driving'

The judge said were it not for the extreme vigilance of the defendants in their investigations, something which undoubtedly put them to enormous expense "the fraud which Mr Platt  intended to perpetrate would likely have gone undetected.”

Notwithstanding his serious injuries it was neither unfair or disproportionate of the High Court judge, she said to to dismiss Mr Platt’s action.

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