Judge says Kerry man 'lied continually' as he dismisses case against defendants in K Club action

Judge says Kerry man 'lied continually' as he dismisses case against defendants in K Club action
Peter Curran at a previous sitting of court

A High Court judge today dismissed an action by a former manager at the K Club and ruled he had not been threatened at Punchestown races seven years ago.

The 51-year old man could now face a substantial legal costs bill for the 25 day hearing before the High Court involving four legal teams and six senior counsel.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr also found the K Club former manager Peter Curran had sent five bogus emails in a desperate attempt to entice a K Club superintendent, Mr Gerry Byrne whom he alleged made the threat, into making an "inculpatory statement" which would also incriminate the luxury resort owner and millionaire businessman Michael Smurfit. This, the judge said would have ended the litigation and resulted in a "windfall of damages" to Mr Curran, from Cahirciveen, Co Kerry.

As part of that stratagem, the judge said Mr Curran planted a story with the gardai about his iPad being taken from him during that period.

The judge said the technical evidence while not perfect was strongly suggestive of Mr Curran having sent the emails and he was satisfied Mr Curran sent the emails to Mr Byrne.

Mr Justice Barr found Mr Curran had "lied continually" in relation to what he told various parties and also in his evidence to the court on the matter.

Mr Justice Barr said the court had to have regard to the fact that Mr Curran is capable of "engaging in deceptive and manipulative conduct to achieve his desired goals."

"He is also prepared to lie to cover his tracks. He lied to the court repeatedly in his evidence on the emails issue," the judge added.

The court, he said was also satisfied that Mr Curran had lied on a number of other occasions.

Peter Curran had sued his former employer the K Club Ltd,Straffan, Co Kildare. Dr Michael Smurfit and K Club resort superintendent Gerry Byrne.

Mr Curran had claimed on May 7, 2011 his way was block ed in the toilets at Punchestown Races and Mr Byrne allegedly said "Dr Smurfit has not forgotten the statements about him and the call girls . Dr Smurfit knows where to find you and this is not over."

All three defendants had denied all the claims. .

Dismissing the action against all defendants Mr Justice Barr said he was satisfied Mr Byrne did not have any interaction or conversation with Mr Curran on May 7, 2011 .

"In short, the court accepts the evidence of Mr Byrne that he did not threaten Mr Curran in the manner alleged or at all on the day in question," the judge stated.

Insofar as there was an allegation of a physical assault the judge said that was a lie and the court must find Mr Curran will lie when it suits his case and must approach his evidence with caution.

He said there was a " lack of consistency " in Mr Curran's accounts of the alleged incident at Punchestown Races. He said by February 2012, Mr Curran's allegation had changed to include and assertion that Mr Byrne had said he was bringing a message from Mr Smurfit.

File image of the K Club
File image of the K Club

"This was a very significant change in his account, the judge said and by adding this " small but significant detail," o Mr Curran had put himself in a position to mount a claim for damages against Mr Smurfit."

Mr Curran.he said had not furnished any convincing evidence why that significant detail was only included after September 2011 and before February 2012 .

"Its late insertion into the narrative is consistent with it being something deliberately added to the story between those dates so as to give Mr Curran a right of action against Mr Smurfit," the judge stated.

Referring to Mr Curran's distressed condition in the hours and days after May 7. 2011 the judge said whether it was due to the fact that he saw Mr Byrne in the toilets of Punchestown Races and as he was not on his medication at the time he had a psychological reaction and he subsequently decided to blame Mr Byrne and Mr Smurfit for that adverse psychological reaction by inventing the making of threat against him was not a question the court had to had to determine.

"It is equally possible that Mr Curran simply saw Mr Byrne in the toilet and saw that as an opportunity for him to mount a fraudulent claim which he did by inventing the story of the threat and pretending to have an exacerbation of his pre existing psychiatric condition. This court does not have to decide which of these fraudulent possibilities is the more likely," the judge concluded.

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