A hero garda, whose car was rammed by a man he had previously saved in a machete attack, has been awarded €25,000 compensation in the High Court for whiplash injuries.
Detective Garda Clifford Singleton, aged 43, who sued the minister for public expenditure and reform, told the court that, in May 2001, he had been investigating vans being stolen from the docks in Dublin.
He said gardaí had been tipped off about a delivery which was to take place in Raheny, Dublin, and had been waiting at Hilltop Shopping Centre. After witnessing the transaction, he had shouted “gardaí” to the van driver, who tried to escape.
Det Garda Singleton told his counsel, Ivan Daly, that he tried to block the van with his unmarked garda car but the driver continued at speed and rammed his vehicle.
The court heard the man was later apprehended. Det Garda Singleton said he suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck, right shoulder, and knee, and to his lower back. The court heard he had ongoing pain.
Dublin-based Det Garda Singleton said during a Garda Compensation hearing that he later attended his GP. He had felt he could manage the pain at the time.
The minister had argued that medical reports at the time of the incident stated a recovery prognosis of one year.
The State alleged that Det Garda Singleton’s ongoing symptoms were triggered by another incident when he tried to lift a television in 2007.
Mr Daly told the court that Det Garda Singleton was a successful member of the detective unit who had willingly put himself in danger in the behalf of Irish citizens.
Counsel said the driver of the van had been saved by Det Garda Singleton from being attacked by two people with a machete several years before the 2001 incident.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton said he believed Det Garda Singleton’s evidence but he had no recent medical evidence to support his claim. The judge said he had to accept medical reports which stated a “contrary view”.
Awarding him €25,000 compensation, the judge said it was reasonable to think that Det Garda Singleton’s symptoms lasted for several years, as he had been involved in a very severe ramming incident.
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