A 51-year-old retired garda who suffers ongoing back pain following an intentional ramming of his patrol car was on Monday awarded almost €49,000 in damages in the High Court.
Garda Nicholas Rowe told the court that in May 2009, he had been following a stolen Toyota Land Cruiser in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, and had pulled in behind it to speak with the driver when the incident happened.
Garda Rowe, who was at the time based at Bagenalstown Garda station, told his barrister, Richard Downey, that he was still in the car when the SUV reversed and rammed the patrol car with considerable force.
He told a Garda compensation hearing his seatbelt had been off as he was about to get out of the car when it was hit. He had felt a jolt as the patrol car was moved sideways.
Soft tissue injuries
Mr Justice Bernard Barton heard Garda Rowe had suffered soft tissue injuries in his neck, shoulder and lower back. He had needed to take painkillers for several years and had been out of work for six months.
Garda Rowe, of Nurney, Co Carlow, said his injuries had almost resolved themselves but he had ongoing pain in his lower back, which required physiotherapy treatment.
Garda Rowe, who sued the State, told the court his injuries had affected his daily activities and he had not been able to go fly fishing for a year.
The State had argued the incident had exacerbated an underlying degenerative condition in Rowe’s back.
The judge said he was satisfied Garda Rowe had no symptoms of back pain before the incident, which may have acted as a trigger to his degenerative condition.
Judge Barton said Garda Rowe’s injuries had not completely resolved and he had needed to modify his activities.
Awarding him €48,676 in damages, Judge Barton said Garda Rowe may need further treatment.