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Biker postman gets €32k over crash blamed on dog

A PART-TIME postman who was injured when a publican's dog ran out in front of his motorbike has been awarded €32,000 in High Court damages.

Clive Heavey (37) was knocked unconscious and sustained two fractures to his skull when the dog, which had been sitting outside the Grangegeeth public house in Co Meath, ran out on to the road on March 23, 1998.

The dog, a cross-bred Labrador/Alsatian called Ba, was owned by the pub's proprietor, Richard McKenna.

Mr Heavey, of Drogheda Road, Slane, Co Meath, sued Mr McKenna for negligence and breach of duty claiming he failed to control or supervise the dog when it had a history of chasing road users.

It was also claimed Mr McKenna had not complied with the provisions of the 1986 Control of Dogs Act.

Mr McKenna, who represented himself in court, denied the claims.

Yesterday, High Court president, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said that he was satisfied that the dog had caused Mr Heavey to crash and awarded him a total of €32,395.

The court heard that Mr Heavey, who was working as a relief postman at the time, had been travelling no more than 40mph when the dog, who had been sitting on a bench outside Mr McKenna's pub, ran on to the road across him.

Mr Heavey swerved to avoid it but ended up coming off his bike.


Mr Heavey was taken to hospital by ambulance. Due to his head injuries he was kept in Beaumont hospital for a week and was unable to work for several weeks.

The court heard evidence from a local man, Geoff Smith, who said he heard a dog growling and snarling shortly before the accident occurred.

In his judgment Mr Justice Kearns said while Mr Heavey had made a good recovery, what had happened was a "very frightening experience".

He also sympathised with Mr McKenna, who told the court that he had had financial difficulties after he got into a venture to run a hotel, but that business was unsuccessful.

As a result, he was unable to afford legal representation.