Wednesday 13 December 2017

Man left in wheelchair by ex-girlfriend gets €3.8m

Jason Clarke, in wheelchair, with father Frank.
Jason Clarke, in wheelchair, with father Frank.

Tim Healy

A MAN left severely brain damaged 12 years ago after his then-girlfriend threw a bottle during a row has been awarded €3.8m under a criminal injuries compensation scheme.

Jason Clarke (43) suffered the assault on New Year's Eve 2000 outside the Blue Light pub in Glencullen, Dublin.

Mr Clarke, who had been studying to be a physiotherapist at the time, suffered a burst blood vessel in his brain, causing him to have two or three strokes.

He also lost consciousness, which he did not regain for another three months, and is now in a wheelchair.

He had been out with a group of friends in the pub when a row broke out and his then-girlfriend struck him. The row continued outside the bar and she threw a bottle at him, striking the back of his head, the High Court heard.

Jennifer Mayberry, of Tudor Lawns, Foxrock, was arrested a month after the incident, pleaded guilty to assault and received a suspended jail sentence.

She was 21 at the time of the assault and the DPP found there was no malice intended to cause such tragic injuries. In 2002, Mr Clarke brought a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal which made a total award of around €3.84m with just over €1m in interim payments already made.

Yesterday, his father Frank asked High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns to rule on the adequacy of the award.

The judge effectively rubber stamped the tribunal's award – although the court heard that Jason might need more money in the future.

Senior counsel John Shortt, on behalf of Mr Clarke, said €8.4m would be required and this was what had originally been sought.

The amount actually awarded raised the spectre of funds running out in the future as Mr Clarke requires full-time care, he said. But if the case went before a new tribunal, the award might be less, he added.

In an affidavit, Frank Clarke said that given the severe financial straits which his family faces in attempting to look after his son, he was asking the court to approve the award, saying it was "a matter of necessity".

The judge said he had no hesitation in advising that this was a sensible settlement.

Mr Shortt also told the court an application will be made later to have Jason made a ward of court.

Irish Independent

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