Man hurt in crash has compo case adjourned

A 30-year-old man who was seriously injured in a crash after a high-speed car chase — in which two teenagers were killed seven years ago — will have to wait a little longer to find out if he is going to be compensated for his injuries.

John Heaphy, 30, with an address at Crestfield Downs, Glanmire, Co Cork, and previously of Blarney St, Cork, brought the case against the two drivers and the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said at the High Court, sitting in Cork, that she would adjourn the case for mention at the High Court in Dublin on October 31.

“This is on the basis that the plaintiff takes all necessary steps to get the first and second defendants before the court so they can be heard in relation to their defence of the case if they wish,” said Ms Justice O’Hanlon.

The judge also told lawyers for the plaintiff and for the MIBI that she required written submissions to be sent to the court registrar by October 5.

The first two defendants in Mr Heaphy’s civil action yesterday are the drivers of two cars who were convicted in 2010 for dangerous driving causing the death of two teenagers.

At Cork Circuit Criminal Court in December 2010, James Simms, 35, of no fixed address, and Philip Murphy, 48, of 58 Killala Gardens, Knocknaheeny, Cork, were sentenced for their dangerous driving on May 14, 2010, on Harbour View Road, causing the death of CJ Dolan, 16, and Derry O’Callaghan, 19.

John Heaphy was the front seat passenger in the car driven by Simms and in which the two teenagers were fatally injured.

Elizabeth O’Connell, senior counsel for the plaintiff, said Mr Heaphy sustained multiple injuries in the crash including seven fractures to his head, as a result of which he sustained serious damage to one eye and was also left with Bell’s Palsy.

“Liability is hugely an issue in the case,” said Ms O’Connell.

The plaintiff was playing football at Hollywood estate at around 11.30pm on the night of the incident when his friend, Darren Lenihan, was grabbed and forced into the boot of a Volkswagen Golf which was driven away by Murphy. Mr Heaphy and others followed in a Ford Mondeo driven by Simms.

Those in the pursuing cars later managed to establish that their friend was not in the boot of the Volkswagen but this car then followed their vehicle, the Mondeo, leading ultimately to the fatal crash.

Mr Heaphy was put on trial on a charge of making a threat to cause damage to property before any of this occurred but he was acquitted on this charge in June 2011.

Lorraine O’Sullivan, senior counsel, represented the defence.

Their case is that the plaintiff was negligent in travelling in a car that was bound to crash and that this likelihood was foreseeable. Also the defence is that the driver of the Mondeo was not insured and Mr Heaphy would have known this.

Mr Heaphy testified that he only got into the Mondeo because his friend had been taken away.

“My friend was taken, we just wanted him to be safe,” said Mr Heaphy.



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