Woman awarded €8k after false claims after a car incident.
A woman has been awarded €8,000 in exemplary damages after being falsely accused on two matters in a personal injury case.
Judge Dearbhla Flanagan told Sligo Circuit Court that allegations made by Ryan Hickey, from Tullow, Co Carlow, against Nora Ward, Ash Lane Halting Site, Sligo, were “tantamount to alleging fraud on behalf of the plaintiff”.
Mr Hickey falsely claimed in his initial defence that Ms Ward, aged 41, had been banned from driving at the time of the crash between his Volkswagen Bora and her Opel Corsa at West Gardens, Sligo, on March 21, 2013.
He also falsely claimed that the plaintiff was not the driver of the car.
The judge described the background to the claims, which were withdrawn at the start of the hearing, as “extraordinary”.
The court heard that the allegations arose from Mr Hickey’s own investigations on the internet where he discovered that the plaintiff had been banned from driving for parking on a double yellow line at Sligo District Court in February 2013.
That sentence was subsequently appealed in the circuit court.
Mr Hickey also believed that Ms Ward was not the driver of the car even after he was shown her photograph by the plaintiff’s legal team more than two years after the incident.
When the respondent saw the ID of the plaintiff, he claimed the woman he had been in collision with was much older.
He said he only became aware of the woman’s true identity on the morning of the civil hearing.
Mr Hickey apologised to the plaintiff under cross-examination.
Judge Flanagan said she was awarding Ms Ward €8,000 in exemplary damages for what “she had to endure”. The judge also awarded €12,000 in general damages after Mr Hickey had reversed his car into Ms Ward’s vehicle at West Gardens on the date in question.
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