Man tells High Court he did not stage road crash

Seven of nine people in collision got compensation in lower court

The court heard a garda who arrived at the scene saw extensive damage to the rear passenger side of the Peugeot and some damage to the front of the Fiesta.

The court heard a garda who arrived at the scene saw extensive damage to the rear passenger side of the Peugeot and some damage to the front of the Fiesta.

 

A man has denied before the High Court that he was involved in an “arranged road traffic accident”.

Martin Lafferty (55), from Clady in Strabane, Co Tyrone, has sued the driver of a rented car and Hertz Rent-a-Car, over injuries arising out of a collision with Mr Lafferty’s Peugeot 406 at a roundabout in Lifford, Co Donegal, on June 28th 2011.

Mr Lafferty was driving with three other people in his vehicle while the other car, driven by Gareth Feeney, with addresses in Strabane and Middlesex, England, had five people in it.

After seven of the nine, including Mr Lafferty, were awarded sums of less than €10,000 in Buncrana Circuit Court in 2015 for injuries from the accident, Hertz, owned by Ryans Investments NI Ltd, appealed those awards to the High Court.

In evidence on Tuesday, Mr Lafferty said he was on his way to check his cattle when Mr Feeney’s hired Ford Fiesta approached the roundabout but failed to stop and it hit Mr Lafferty’s car. His car was not driveable afterwards because of the damage while the Fiesta could be driven.

The court heard a garda who arrived at the scene saw extensive damage to the rear passenger side of the Peugeot and some damage to the front of the Fiesta.

Under cross examination by Joseph McGettigan SC, for Ryans/Hertz, Mr Lafferty said he was involved in three other road traffic accidents in the last 14 or 15 years, including one which settled and one he is still pursuing.

He was also injured in 1993 when he was shot by a British soldier in Newtownards. His father was Neil Lafferty who was in charge of the west Tyrone brigade of the IRA and who died in Long Kesh (The Maze) prison.

Commemoration march

He agreed he carried the national flag at the head of a commemoration march by the Joseph Plunkett 1916 Society, which commemorates the IRA dead, in November 2011, a few months after the accident in which he claimed he suffered pain in his head and right shoulder.

He said he was the leader of that society but disagreed carrying the flag was difficult with his injuries. He disagreed it was more difficult that trying to turn the steering wheel on his van, a task he said he had difficulty doing after the accident.

He said all the people in his car were members of the Joseph Plunkett Society while one man in the other car had just attended a commemoration ceremony and was a member of a similar group, the Charlie Darcy 1916 Society.

When Mr McGettigan suggested this was “an arranged accident between you and Mr Feeney”, Mr Lafferty replied: “That is a very serious allegation and it is untrue”.

Mr McGettigan said when Mr Feeney arrived at the Hertz office in Derry to return the car, he did not have Mr Lafferty’s details but was able to immediately ring Mr Lafferty, opening the conversation with: “How’re ya Marty”.

Mr Lafferty said he has never been called Marty in his life and could not remember any such phone call but knew he must have provided his details to Mr Feeney. He knew Mr Feeney to see from coming into a night club in Strabane where he had worked for 12 years.

The case continues before Mr Justice Charles Meenan.