Stripper (32) who claimed he couldn't lift children due to crash loses case after videos of his performances shown in court
A man who could have been awarded up to €40,000 for whiplash, claiming he couldn't lift his children after a car crash, had his case thrown out after a court watched footage of him performing on stage as a stripper.
Nauris Zeps, 32, with the stage name ‘Blade’ claimed he’d suffered back pain and had been unable to lift his child since a collision on July 20, 2014 at a roundabout.
But solicitors acting for Liberty Insurance unearthed footage of Zeps, originally from Latvia, on Facebook, showing him cavorting around a stage taking his clothes off.
The court also heard he appeared as Mr September in a calender.
Nauris, with an address at Phibblestown House, Clonsilla, appeared before Dublin Circuit Court, wearing a black winter coat and sporting a tightly shaved head.
Earlier videos and photos had been shown of the father-of-two stripping as part of the Chain Gang dance troupe. And a photo was shown of Zeps under his alias as stripper Blade, posing as Mr September.
Judge Mary O'Malley Costello said: "Mr Zeps told the court in broad terms, he has a moderate soft tissue injury and with substantial recovery he has ongoing injuries three years after the accident, such as preventing him from lifting a small child in effect from the child was a baby and his six-year-old too.
"He told the court he has ongoing difficulties and told doctors recently that he has to stop going to the gym and he hasn't been running for the same period.
"In evidence it became clear from the beginning he conducted his business of being a dancer and did it monthly, if not more and that dancing, as I saw from the video while not extremely physical, certainly required a good deal of effort, involving stretching, extension of the back and a clear ability to move and bend down very easily."
The judge said Zeps had given the court evidence he hadn't been able to work due to injury from the crash and that he'd only been able to do "light cardio, take short runs building up to longer runs," and though he’d been able to bench press 70 kilos, that was compared to the 100 kilos he'd been able to lift before the accident.
"He never took the opportunity to say I have a hobby , I do strenuous dancing," Judge O'Malley Costello said.
"He never told us about that 'til he had to admit it. He says he wants to keep his private life private but unfortunately he didn't keep it private, as he put it up on Facebook - it's not something he's embarrassed about - he likes doing it.
"He's entitled to do this type of work - I'm not holding stripping against him," but, the judge added, Zeps, also a student, had "said he has difficulty even sitting and I'm quite clear this was misleading and deliberate."
The judge said it had been established he was regularly dancing because 18 occasions had been proven via Facebook photos across three-and-a-half years.
"He admitted he never missed a dancing session (when the footage and photos were shown)" the judge said.
Zeps had claimed that on July 20, 2014 he had been driving on the Naul Road, near Dublin Airport, when driver Darius Pocivs, who did not appear in court, drove into him.
But he claimed several versions of the incident; that he had been at a standstill when he was hit by the car behind, that he was about to start off round the roundabout and that he'd been pushed into the roundabout.
The judge said this changing of versions of events showed dishonesty. And though she admitted he didn't seem to have been claiming for loss of income, Zeps had not been injured to the extent he'd claimed due to the photographic and video evidence submitted by Liberty Insurance lawyers, David Culleton, from DAC Beachcroft law firm based in D4.
She struck the case out on the basis that Zeps had not divulged his job as a stripper who'd been clearly active on stage taking part in several performances each night he danced for long periods.
A Liberty Insurance spokesman said after the hearing: "We welcome the judgement, it's really positive to see judgements being made in those instances where there are questionable circumstances or where the evidence doesn't support a claim.
"This outcome reflects our determination to put forward a full defence where we feel claims may have no merit, in the interest of our customers and policyholders."