Gardaí investigate five men who withdrew compensation claim

Tallaght court adjourns law firm’s application to allow for variation of search warrant

The Garda are pursuing five men who withdrew a compensation claim against an insurance firm

The Garda are pursuing five men who withdrew a compensation claim against an insurance firm

 

Five men who withdrew a compensation claim against an insurance company over a car crash in which they alleged they received injuries are being investigated by the Garda.

As part of this, gardaí have been granted a search warrant for the offices of their solicitor, O’Hanrahan & Company Solicitors of Ballybough in Dublin.

The firm has countered by asking for a variation of the search warrant and also wants matters dealt with in camera, which would result in the media not being able to report the proceedings.

At Tallaght District Court on Thursday, Judge John Lindsay adjourned the application to vary, which was lodged on March 22nd, until May 25th when it will be mentioned again in the Courts of Criminal Justice.

The affair dates back to a crash on March 12th, 2013, and involves six men – Darren Mulhall, Mark Carroll, Stephen O’Shaughnessy, Alan O’Brien, Gerard Black and Anto Dolan.

Sued

They were travelling in a taxi at about 10pm which was hit in the rear by another car, a red Toyota Avensis, close to the Avonbeg estate in Tallaght.

They subsequently sued the taxi insurance company, Liberty Insurance, outlining in sworn statements to O’Hanrahan & Company what they alleged had happened, the injuries they claimed to have sustained, and the alleged consequent effects on their lives.

Their case was fought on Liberty’s behalf by the industry umbrella body, the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) and one of the six, Mr Black, withdrew his claim before those of the remaining five came to court.

After robust questioning, the five withdrew their claims and the case ended without any compensation being given to them.

Following up on the case, gardaí were recently granted a search warrant for the offices of O’Hanrahan solicitors under section 52 (2) of the Criminal Justice (theft and fraud offences) Act 2001.

The section empowers the Garda to have access to any document or computer record where “there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the material constitutes evidence of or relating to the commission of the offence”.

Warrant

The warrant names Darren Mulhall, Mark Carroll, Stephen O’Shaughnessy, Alan O’Brien, and Anthony Dolan.

The O’Hanrahan application for a variation to the warrant, including the sought-after in camera ruling, is made in the name of Tim O’Hanrahan, the firm’s managing partner.

It seeks extended time to comply with the warrant, permission to notify the five men, raises the matter of whether anything the firm has is covered by legal privilege, meaning such material should not be given to gardaí, and also the in camera request.

A lawyer for Mr O’Hanrahan told the court they intended to write to the men. A lawyer for the office of the Chief State Solicitor said the original order said nothing about notifying the five and that it was a matter for Mr O’Hanrahan “in respect of what steps he takes to comply with the order”.

Judge Lindsay adjourned the application to vary for mention on May 25th.