A judge has accused three friends of concocting a plan to “win the lotto” by way of €60,000 personal injury claims as they sat waiting for firemen to cut them out of a rear-ended taxi in Dublin.
Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke told Dean Masterson and his friends Stephen Deane and Shane O’Leary that he did not believe they were injured to the point that they were unable to get out of the vehicle until firemen removed the roof.
The men said they were injured when an untraced vehicle ran into the back of Brendan Spearing’s taxi, which was being driven by Oluramti Awogboro along the East Road in Dublin in January 2013. Only Mr Masterson and Mr Deane followed through with their claims.
Judge Groarke said Mr Masterson (32), a taxi driver from Dorset Street Flats, Dublin, told the court he was “so overwhelmed” by the collision he was unable to get out of the vehicle. Mr Deane (35), a painter from St Mary’s Place, Dorset Street, had said he was unable to get out because he was “in panic” following the minimal contact accident.
Judge Groarke said Mr O’Leary, “who is a sensible man who did not pursue his claim,” had been “so overcome” he was unable to move in order to get out.
The judge told barristers Helen McCarthy, for the taxi owner and driver, and Philip Fennel, for the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland, that it was perfectly obvious from pictures they presented to court that there was no damage whatsoever to the back bumper of the rear-ended taxi.
“The evidence from each of these two plaintiffs was of a rapidly reached agreement by all three passengers before gardaí and firemen arrived that they would concoct serious injuries which left them incapable of getting out of the car,” Judge Groarke said.
He said each of the three had similar soft tissue injuries.
“This is as bad a story as I have ever heard concocted and really amounts to deceit and fraud,” Judge Groarke said. “There is no question of these three men having been so badly injured that they were physically incapable of getting out of the car. I don’t believe it for one minute.”
He added: “To say they were exaggerating their evidence does not do the situation sufficient justice...They had suffered no injuries whatsoever and I dismiss their claims accordingly”.
Judge Groarke told Ms McCarthy, who appeared with AXA Legal Services, and Mr Fennel, who appeared with Stephen Mackenzie solicitors, that their clients were entitled to recover their legal costs.