Tuesday 17 July 2018

Plumber lied to court in his claim for loss of earnings

Tim Healy

Leo McKenna leaving the High Court yesterday after the hearing. COURTPIX

TRANSCRIPTS of evidence in a High Court compensation case should be sent to the DPP, a judge said yesterday.

Mr Justice John Quirke made the recommendation after he found a plumber had given false evidence in his claim for loss of earnings.

The judge said he was making no recommendation about what should be done by the DPP in the case of Leo McKenna, following an inquiry by the High Court yesterday into the allegations of false evidence.

However, he had "no option" but to say the transcripts of evidence in the case should be sent to the DPP "for his information".

Mr McKenna had denied his evidence was false.

Mr McKenna (43), Tullyhall Drive, Lucan, Co Dublin, had claimed he could not work for almost nine-and-a-half years because of an injury to his knee after he allegedly fell from a ladder on a building site in September 2001.

He sued his employer Paddy Dormer, trading as Paddy Dormer Services, Churchtown, Dublin, for damages as well as loss of earnings for most of that period.

However, the court heard earlier this month that Mr McKenna had been working for Mr Dormer for almost all of that period, having insisted shortly after the accident that he be paid in cash from then on.

As his case was about to get under way on February 24, Mr McKenna approached Mr Dormer in the Four Courts and told him "to say you have not seen me for the last nine-and-a-half years" -- even though he worked for the Dormer firm almost continuously during that same period, the court heard.

The judge earlier refused to allow Mr McKenna to abandon his compensation claim after his counsel said he was offering to pay the costs of both sides in the case and this would mean he would suffer a penalty.

Mr McKenna had initially given evidence to the court that he had worked "bits and pieces" and at odd jobs throughout the nine-and-half years that he was claiming loss of earnings.

But when his credibility was seriously challenged under cross-examination, he sought to confine the claim of earnings to the six months after the accident, the judge said.

Yesterday, Mr McKenna, with a new legal team, sought to abandon the case, the judge said. But it was his view that it should only be dismissed on the basis that no negligence was established and that no false evidence was given.


The judge then heard evidence from Mr Dormer, his son Martin, and one of their workers, who all testified they had heard Mr McKenna make the remark to Mr Dormer that he had not "seen him for the last nine-and-a-half years".

Mr Dormer told the court his reaction to this remark was that "he must have been joking". Mr Dormer said the first he knew of the loss of earnings claim was shortly before the court case was due to begin.

Roger Leonard, who carried out an assessment on Mr McKenna's work life, told the court Mr McKenna had told him he was very reluctant to go ahead with the case but said he had no choice because otherwise he would have had to pay €4,500 to the solicitor who brought the case on his behalf.

Dismissing the claim and awarding costs against Mr McKenna, the judge paid tribute to Mr Dormer for his integrity.

Irish Independent

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