Man loses case over garda car crash during pursuit of other vehicle

Man loses case over garda car crash during pursuit of other vehicle

A 40-year old man who sued the State after an unmarked garda car involved in the pursuit of another driver crashed into him is facing a large legal costs bill after he lost his High Court action for damages.

Dismissing Mukesh Kumar's action Mr Justice David Keane said there was no doubt he was a blameless party but he preferred the garda evidence in the case.

The judge said the incident where the unmarked car crashed into Mr Kumar’s car happened in the space of two seconds on a dark night.

Gardaí were dealing with a man who had been driving in a dangerous way for some considerable time and there was an urgent necessity to bring it to a halt. Gardaí, the judge said, were obliged to make a split-second decision and were trying to bring the situation to a conclusion.

The garda evidence was that gardaí were in pursuit of a driver who had been swerving in and out of traffic near the N 11 dual carriageway in South Dublin and an attempt was made to box him in but the driver had taken an "undertaking manoeuvre" of the unmarked garda car and shunted it in to the opposite carriage where it crashed in to the front side of Mr Kumar's car.

Mr Justice Keane said he accepted without hesitation the honesty and integrity of the witnesses on both sides of the case. The real conflict in the case, the judge said was what led gardaí to be on that side of the road.

He also awarded costs of the action, which ran for almost three days, against Mr Kumar.

Mukesh Kumar, Olcovar, Shankill, Co Dublin had sued the State as a result of the accident near a junction of the N11 outside Shankill, Co Dublin at 11.40pm on December 6, 2009.

He had claimed that he was on the way to work when the garda car crashed into his car. He claimed there was an alleged failure to stop, slow or swerve or otherwise to manage the garda vehicle in such a way as to have avoided the accident.

Mr Kumar who sustained a soft tissue injury to his shoulder had claimed his ability to carry out ordinary routine movements were adversely affected including reaching and lifting.

The claims were denied and the garda evidence was that the unmarked car was shunted into the lane where Mr Kumar’s car was.

Gardaí had been in pursuit of a driver who was later charged and pleaded guilty to four counts before the Circuit Criminal Court including dangerous driving and driving while intoxicated.

That driver was given a three-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay €2,000 to Mr Kumar.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Keane said Mr Kumar's evidence was unequivocal but vague.

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