Five Dublin drinking pals dramatically withdrew personal injury claims relating to a rear-ending accident that a judge described as “a clear set-up”.
At full value, the group could have pocketed damages of €300.000 against the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), together with legal costs of €100,000. A sixth €60,000 damages claim was withdrawn before yesterday’s hearing.
Counsel Paul Murray told Darren Mulhall, aged 41, that the MIBI had traced the history of the car used in the set-up crash and found that it belonged to a close relative of one of his friends involved in the scam.
“This was no coincidence. You have been caught out, Mr Mulhall. This was, pure and simple, a set-up,” Mr Murray told him under cross-examination.
Mr Murray told Mr Mulhall that he and his drinking friends had called a taxi and lured the driver into a set-up crash.
Counsel told Mr Mulhall he and his friends were found “still moaning and groaning” in the taxi by the time three ambulances and the gardaí arrived. He had been taken out of the taxi on a spinal board and rushed to hospital.
Mr Murray told Mr Mulhall that neither he nor any of his friends could identify the Toyota car that had crashed into the back of the taxi, even though, with one of its front wheels askew, it “hobbled” only a short distance up the road from the scene.
Mr Mulhall, of Rutland Cottages, Lower Rutland St, Dublin, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane he knew nothing about two men from the crippled Toyota having come back to the taxi and allegedly asking everyone if they were all right.
He said the accident had happened in Tallaght after he and five of his friends had left his brother’s pub, The Blind Ref, in Ballybough, Dublin, on March 13, 2013. The car that had rear-ended them had never been traced, he said.
Mr Murray said the taxi driver had returned to the scene the following day and had photographed the crippled Toyota, which lay abandoned only yards from where it hit his taxi.
“Investigations revealed it had been sold only days before the crash to either the father or stepfather of Gerard Black, Killarney Court, Dublin, who was in the taxi with you and who has already withdrawn his claim,” Mr Murray told Mr Mulhall.
Mr Mulhall told Mr Murray his theory of a set-up sounded “very convincing”, but he knew nothing about it.
Following an adjournment for lunch, Mr Murray told Judge Linnane that Mr Mulhall’s case need no longer trouble the court as he was consenting to it being dismissed with no further order.
“I can also tell you, judge, that the connected cases of Alan O’Brien, Shelmalier Rd, East Wall; Anthony Dolan, Fairlawn Rd, Finglas; Stephen O’Shaughnessy, Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght; and Mark Carroll Hart, Portland Row, North Strand, have been withdrawn over lunch,” Mr Murray said.
Judge Linnane, striking out all of their cases, said: “It is quite clear these were a set-up.”
All of the claimants had complained of whiplash and back injuries.
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