€240k car smash claimants 'party to a fraud', says judge
A judge has thrown out a case in which four people were claiming €240,000 damages against a motor insurer.
Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said he would have to be blind not to see there was a hand orchestrating a number of accidents.
"These accidents were planned… and all four plaintiffs were willing participants in them and party to a fraud," he said.
Judge Groarke told Paul Murray SC, counsel for Zurich Insurance which defended all cases, that 41-year-old undertaker Peter Slattery would be entirely comfortable engaging in a scam arising from set up accidents.
He had but a passing familiarity with the truth and none of his evidence was credible.
In one of four €60,000 claims Slattery, of Charlemont, Griffith Avenue, Dublin, had sued his girlfriend Belinda McLoughlin and Zurich for damages for neck and back injuries arising from a rear-ending crash.
McLoughlin, of Holywell Crescent North, Swords, was a joint defendant with Zurich in all of the four claims involving separate accidents. She had admitted liability in all.
Samantha Byrne (28), of Suncroft Drive, Tallaght, and her sister Jessica Byrne (25), of Bawnlea Avenue, Jobstown, Tallaght, also sued McLoughlin and Zurich for €60,000 each for damages arising out of a rear-ending of their car by McLoughlin at Fortunestown Road on February 12, 2015.
In another rear-ending on July 21, 2014, again admittedly caused by McLoughlin, Ian Doyle (33), of Academy Building, Parkwest, Dublin, a mechanic, sued McLoughlin for €60,000 damages for neck and lower back injuries.
Judge Groarke also named 16 other people who had made claims, not all before his court. He said Slattery had been common to five of them.
None of the accidents before the court had been reported to gardai and all involved minimal damage.
Mr Murray was awarded costs, likely to run to €20,000 in each case, against all four plaintiffs.