Taxi driver accused of ‘lying through his teeth’ drops €60k damages claim

Irish Independent – Tuesday, 21 February 2017

 A 39-year-old taxi driver, who a court was today told was “lying through his teeth,” has withdrawn a €60,000 damages claim for personal injuries he allegedly suffered in a road traffic accident.

Stephen McAuley claimed in the Circuit Civil Court that on December 20, 2012, he was a front seat passenger in a car when it was struck by another vehicle driven by Jason Whelan at a roundabout in Hollystown, Dublin.

Mr McAuley, of Chapelwood Avenue, Hollystown, alleged he suffered soft-tissue injuries to his neck.  He had been off work for several weeks following the accident and had needed to undergo physiotherapy sessions.

He told barrister Shane English, counsel for Mr Whelan’s insurer, Allianz Insurance, that the car had to be written off after the collision.

Mr English, who appeared with Crowley Millar Solicitors, told the court that liability was not an issue in the case which had become an assessment of damages only.  He said “credibility, however, is very much an issue.”

Mr English told the court that Mr Whelan, with an address at Gleann Bhreandáín’s Road, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, had insured his vehicle two weeks before the accident and cancelled his policy two weeks after it.  “Then we never heard of him again,” Mr English said.

Counsel told Mr McAuley during cross-examination that he had failed to disclose several previous accidents in court documents.

“You have not told us about a myriad of accidents and you’re still lying, which is probably worse, because you are now are under oath.  You are lying through your teeth,” Mr English told him.

Mr English said Mr McAuley had disclosed two previous road traffic accidents but Allianz Insurance had discovered many more, including some that had happened in similar circumstances and some for which he had been awarded damages.

Mr English said Mr McAuley had last year claimed for the theft of his brand new €30,000 Audi A6, but Allianz had voided his insurance policy discovering he had “forged a no claims bonus.”

Mr McAuley said he recovered the car last November after a friend saw “two Romanians driving it”.

Judge James O’Donohoe told Mr McAuley’s legal team that the plot “was thickening and there could be serious consequences for their client”.

Following a brief adjournment, the court was told that Mr McAuley was withdrawing his claim.  Judge O’Donohoe awarded legal costs against him