A PART-time podium dancer has been awarded damages of more than €31,000 after being twice rear-ended by motorists at traffic lights.
Chantal Powney is the former girlfriend of Mark O'Rourke, who was fired by Bill Cullen after breaking out of 'The Apprentice' house to meet her in her car.
Ms Powney (29) denied that a picture of her hanging upsidedown on a dancing podium, which she posted to the internet herself, was inconsistent with claims she had an injured back.
Yesterday the civil servant, of St James's Avenue, Clonliffe Road, Dublin, was in the Circuit Civil Court, revealing how she injured her back in crashes two years apart.
She said she cried daily for weeks and was treated for depression after the second collision in August 2008, which exacerbated lower back injuries she suffered in a July 2006 crash.
Explaining the picture of herself hanging upside down, she said it was taken before the 2006 collision, and when she "had alcohol onboard".
She told barrister Adrienne Fields, counsel for defendant motorist Brendan Keane, that she had posted a lot of photos and holiday snaps on the net.
She said that Mr Keane, of Beechdale, Dunboyne, Co Meath, drove into the back of her car as she was stopped at traffic lights on Portland Row, Dublin, on July 21, 2006.
She injured her lower back and, attending her doctor on only a few occasions, concentrated on treating her injury through physiotherapy.
She was forced to temporarily abandon her hobby of podium dancing after the accident.
Ms Powney confirmed that, after the 2008 accident, her then boyfriend Mark O'Rourke sneaked out of 'The Apprentice' house to meet her in her car, and was booted off the TV3 show as a result.
When she said she had nothing to do with media coverage of 'The Apprentice' incident, Judge Leonie Reynolds said it was unnecessary to probe Ms Powney's private life. Ms Powney said her back injury had cleared up by the date of the second collision on August 17, 2008, when her car was again struck while sitting at traffic lights on Naas Road, Dublin.
In this crash, a car driven by Joe Doyle, of Cherryfield Avenue, Ranelagh, Dublin, was driven into the back of a car driven by Peter Quinn, of South Cumberland Street, Dublin.
Mr Quinn's car then collided with the rear of Ms Powney's car. She sued Mr Keane, and Mr Doyle and Mr Quinn.
All of the defendants conceded liability and asked the court to assess damages and apportion awards. Judge Reynolds awarded Ms Powney €12,910 and costs against Mr Keane, and €18,550 and costs jointly against Mr Doyle and Mr Quinn.
She refused an application by barrister Frank Beatty to award only one set of costs for both cases on the grounds that, had they been consolidated, they may have been dealt with in the High Court.