William Hogan, aged 35, of Kelleher’s Buildings, Dillon’s Cross, Cork, appeared at Cork Circuit Court yesterday claiming compensation for injuries he said he suffered while travelling as a back seat passenger in a car driven by his partner, Jennifer Cronin, of Brookville estate, Riverstown, Glanmire.
Ms Cronin and another passenger, Rebecca O’Regan of Annalee Grove, Mayfield, settled their actions on undisclosed terms when Judge Brian O’Callaghan found liability for the accident against Neil Lynch, an off-duty garda, from Sallybrook, Glanmire, who believed he had sufficient time to emerge from the Hazelwood junction in Glanmire on December 27, 2015, but accepted that he did not have as much time as he believed at the time.
There was disputed evidence between Ms Cronin and Mr Lynch on the moments before the collision but Judge O’Callaghan found that Mr Lynch was responsible for the collision.
After lunch yesterday, the judge was told Ms Cronin and Ms Egan settled their claims on undisclosed terms.
Mr Hogan’s claim for compensation went to hearing on the basis of an assessment of damages only, as the liability issue had been determined.
At the end of Mr Hogan’s claim, Judge O’Callaghan said of the witness: “This court does not believe a word out of the plaintiff about his injuries. Not one word.
"He expresses his concern about his four-year-old son yet he brings his son into a car with three dangerous tyres and expects the court to be impressed by his concerns about his son. It is a pity he did not have concerns before he got into the car with his son.”
The judge said there was one medical report where the doctor had to rely only on the plaintiff’s description of injuries but there were no clinical findings of injuries.
“It is this court’s strong view that this plaintiff suffered no injuries at all. If any they were absolutely insignificant. This court assesses damages at zero.”
The judge acceded to an application to have costs awarded against Mr Hogan.
Mr Hogan said in evidence that he was a professional road bowler who had won two All-Ireland titles.
He told his counsel John Devlin that road bowling was his hobby and his life. “I am still not back road bowling — you are running, spinning your back and I am not comfortable doing that.”
Donal McCarthy, defending, complained that in the plaintiff’s pleadings there was no document containing a reference to road bowling and he objected to the evidence being given in court.
The plaintiff testified during the part of the case dealing with liability that after the accident he was not too happy about it and called Mr Lynch names. However, he denied going further or threatening “to do him in”.
When gardaí from Mayfield arrived at the scene of the accident so too did an ambulance and four fire trucks.
Mr Lynch’s father was at the scene and could not say who made the comment — Mr Hogan or another man in the back of the car — but he clearly heard someone call out using the slang word, “shade” for a guard: “Money is going to be made out of this because he is a shade.”