Thomas O’Neill, a convicted burglar and recovering drug addict, has been awarded €20,000 bike hit and run compensation at the High Court
Mr O’Neill (47) is currently serving a jail sentence in related to aggravated for burglary. He was accused, in the High Court, of fabricating the incident by legal counsel for the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), Joseph McGettigan SC.
Mr Mcgettigan put this to Mr O’Neill saying: “I am suggesting to you that for whatever reason, you have decided to concoct a case involving an untraced motorist, in order to get compensation, and you are here today with a story that just doesn’t add up. It is defying all credibility.”
Judge Michael Hanna, however, said he was of the opinion that the plaintiff was ‘not lying’ and was entitled to be awarded €20,000 in personal injury compensation.
Thomas O’Neill, who is currently serving an eight-year sentence for aggravated burglary, told the Judge that that the accident took place on June 18, 2014. He said that he had spent the day fishing with his son in Swords, and had been returning home on his bicycle to Balbriggan when he was knock to the ground. He stated: “The last thing I remember was feeling the impact and waking up in the ditch on the side of the road.”
Mr O’Neill told the judge that he had experienced a head injury, lost consciousness and as well as a number of cuts to his face and body. A passing taxi driver offered his assistance, which he refused, and he made his own way home by bus after he hid his bike in the ditch. He could not remember how his bike subsequently got back to his house. He also had no recollection of speaking to his GP or a nurse who treated him at Beaumont Hospital.
He did remember going to the Garda Station to make a statement. However, Sergeant Brendan O’Connor informed the Court that Mr O’Neill had been ‘under the influence of an intoxicant’, when he attended the Garda Station. They advised him to return later to make the statement but this never took place.
Mr McGettigan said to Mr O’Neill at the High Court: “I am suggesting to you that, whatever happened to you that day, you were not involved in a hit-and-run accident, and you decided to bring proceedings against the bureau without going through any normal channels. You never reported this case to the gardaí.”
Replying to this Mr O’Neill said: “I did report it to the guards.”
The Judge was made aware of Mr O’Neill’s previous 20 convictions and he (the Judge) told the Court that these previous convictions did not mean a person could not seek compensation for injuries in an accident.
Judge Hanna said: ‘My impression of the plaintiff was that he was not lying, and I am satisfied that he suffered the injuries he had in the circumstances of which he has complained.’