Four passengers who claimed to have been injured in what was described as a low-impact accident near Blanchardstown Shopping Centre have each had their €60,000 damages claim thrown out with costs against them.
Now, instead of walking from court with potential awards totalling €240,000, Antoinette Mullen (aged 67) and her two sons Daniel and Damian Fahy, and daughter Lindsay Fahy, all of Fortlawn Drive, Moat View, Clonsilla, Dublin, face costs bills of up to €25,000 each.
Barrister Tom Clarke, who appeared with solicitors Ennis and Associates, had challenged all four on behalf of their taxi driver about the extent of their alleged injuries arising from such a low-impact collision on a Blanchardstown roundabout.
All of the claimants told Judge John O’Connor they had been window shopping and had decided to take a taxi home from the rank outside the Blanchardstown centre. Each of them denied having known anything about another car allegedly having been driven up and down the side of the rank until they had got inside their hired taxi.
And they denied any knowledge of one of their foursome having made a phone call just before they got into their taxi which, the defendants claimed, had followed them and had speeded up to run into the back of them on the roundabout.
In cross-examination Mrs Mullen said it was possible the driver of the car behind them had accidentally hit one of the wrong pedals in his car and had speeded into them. She told Judge O’Connor that such an accident had happened to her some years ago when learning to drive and she had demolished the front porch at her home.
Judge O’Connor, dismissing all of their cases, said it was important to point out that no-one was on trial in the criminal court sense of a case.
He said Mrs Mullen had given contradictory evidence in relation to her injuries and, while he accepted she had some memory loss the court was satisfied she had not suffered any injury because of the November 2015 accident.
“The court forms no additional view on the issues raised on her historic credibility except to say that she has the presumption of innocence and has told the court, which accepts, she has no relevant criminal history or of having been involved in other accidents except an unrelated one in Dunnes Stores,” Judge O’Connor said.
Judge O’Connor said that in relation to Damien Fahy the court was satisfied he was not truthful and had not suffered any injury. Daniel Fahy’s evidence had been evasive and the court did not go any further than stating that he had not suffered any injury.
He said that in relation to Ms Lindsay Fahy he was satisfied she had not suffered an injury and he accepted the evidence of the plaintiffs’ taxi driver James Slattery as having been truthful.
“It is a matter for the plaintiffs to prove their case and the court accepts that despite the acknowledgement of the incident they have not done so and I dismiss the cases with costs,” Judge O’Connor said.