Judge throws out €60,000 injury case but rejects fraud claim
A judge has dismissed €60,000 personal injury claims by two members of the Traveller community - but said he was not making any finding regarding a defence allegation of fraud.
As far as the court was concerned, both plaintiffs had the presumption of innocence in that regard, Judge John O'Connor added.
The judge said that in the claims involving Ann Marie O'Donnell and Margaret McDonagh, both of Meakstown, Finglas, Dublin 11, it was for them to prove their case -and he was satisfied they had failed to do so.
The Circuit Civil Court had been told earlier that three other claimants allegedly involved in the same accident at Ongar, Dublin 15, had already withdrawn their €60,000 damages claims.
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"I have my doubts about whether there was an accident but the reason why I am acceding to a defence application to dismiss the claims is because I am satisfied there were no injuries sustained by the plaintiffs and that is based on their own evidence," Judge O'Connor said.
He awarded costs against Ms McDonagh but did not award costs against Ms O'Donnell, who had been a minor at the time.
Barristers Moira Flahive and Michael Murray had mounted a full defence to all claims on behalf of Aviva Insurance.
Judge O'Connor said in the absence of a civil legal aid system, he was full of admiration for lawyers who took on cases in order to defend a citizen's rights.
"In an adversarial system we all have our functions," he said.
"It is not the lawyers' function to act as judges and it is not a judge's function to act as advisers but simply adjudicate on the case presented to him and ensure there are fair procedures."