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Apprentice star's ex wins €31k cars case

CIVIL servant and part-time podium dancer Chantal Powney, who was twice rear-ended by motorists at traffic lights, has been awarded damages of more than €31,000.

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 in the first series, said in the Circuit Civil Court she injured her back in crashes two years apart.

She told her barrister Alastair Rutherdale that she cried daily for weeks and had been treated for depression following the second accident in August 2008. She said the crash exacerbated low back injuries she suffered in a July 2006 crash.

Ms Powney, of St James's Avenue, Clonliffe Road, Dublin, denied that a picture she posted on the internet of herself hanging upside down on a dancing podium was inconsistent with claims that she had an injured back.


She told barrister Adrianne Fields, counsel for defendant motorist Brendan Keane, that the picture had been taken before the 2006 accident and at a time when she "had alcohol on board." She had posted a lot of holiday snaps on the net.

Ms Powney (29) said Mr Keane, of Beechdale, Dunboyne, Co Meath, had driven into the rear of her car while she was stopped at traffic lights in Portland Row, Dublin, in 2006.

She had injured her lower back and, while going to the doctor only on a few occasions, had concentrated on treatment through physiotherapy. She had to temporarily abandon her hobby of podium dancing.

Ms Powney said her back injury had cleared up by the date of the second accident when her car had been struck while sitting at traffic lights on Naas Road, Dublin.

In this crash, a car driven by Joe Doyle had driven into the back of a car driven by Peter Quinn, whose car had then collided with the rear of hers.

Powney sued Mr Keane as well as jointly suing Doyle and Quinn. All of the defendants conceded liability, and asked the court yesterday 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 to award only one set of costs on the grounds that had they been consolidated, they may have been dealt with in the High Court.