He described Ms McDonagh as “a fraud” who had deliberately set a trap for an unsuspecting driver behind her by slamming on her brakes and causing a rear-ending accident.
“The plaintiff is a fraud who has brought a fraudulent claim set up in an amateur fashion by the slamming on of her brakes,” Mr Justice Groarke said.
Barrister Mark Dunne, counsel for Aviva Insurance, told the Circuit Civil Court that the company’s insured driver Catherine O’Sullivan, of Coolock, Dublin, had been unable to avoid a collision when Ms McDonagh had slammed on her brakes for no reason as she approached a roundabout.
When cross-examined, Ms McDonagh, 28, denied that she had been involved in another accident in Monaghan on 2 February 2015, despite having claimed she was in Gloustershire on that day.
After she denied involvement in the Monaghan accident, Mr Dunne called Garda Diarmuid Leane in Monaghan, who said he had taken Ms McDonagh’s name and address at the scene of the Monaghan collision.
Garda Leane said he recognised that woman as the woman in court bringing the claim arising out of the Swords collision two days earlier.
Garda Leane said Ms McDonagh had given her address as Newport, South Wales, the same address she had given to Ms O’Sullivan in the Co Dublin collision.
Mr Dunne also questioned Ms McDonagh about an alleged slip she had in Tesco in Ireland in May 2013 and referred to evidence that she had actually slipped the day before in England, where she had a surgical slab fitted to her wrist.
Ms McDonagh said she had slipped in both countries on consecutive days, but only had a bandage on her arm when the second slip had occurred.
Mr Justice Groarke said the defendant had claimed in its defence that Ms McDonagh had set up the road crash to entrap Ms O’Sullivan and he had to balance the credibility of Ms McDonagh’s evidence as against the credibility of Ms O’Sullivan.
He said Ms McDonagh had not called any of her passengers to back up her claim about the Swords incident and he found the evidence of Ms O’Sullivan to the effect that the brakes had been slammed on for no reason to be compelling and reliable.
He dismissed Ms McDonagh’s claim with costs against her and directed the matter be reported to the Garda.
Rob Smith, head of Aviva’s anti-fraud section, said after the case that the court’s decision vindicated Aviva’s decision to defend all spurious claims as part of the company’s zero-tolerance strategy.
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