Seven men have been awarded sums of between €5,050 and €9,550 over a traffic collision in Co Donegal after the High Court rejected a car hire company’s claim that the collision was a set-up.
The case concerned an appeal by Ryans Investments NI Ltd, trading as Hertz Rent-a-Car, against a Circuit Court decision awarding the seven similar sums over an incident on a roundabout in Lifford, on June 28th, 2011.
Five men were travelling in the hire car, while four were in a second car which was hit because the other car failed to stop as it came onto the roundabout, the court heard.
Seven of the occupants sued over back and neck injuries.
Hertz claimed those involved knew each other through membership of two Republican commemoration groups – the Joseph Plunkett and Charlie D’Arcy Societies.
Mr Justice Charles Meenan said the most that was admitted by the plaintiffs was that some of the men knew each other “to see”.
Though the evidence in some instances concerning prior knowledge of each other was “less than forthright”, he did not believe such evidence went so far as to establish the collision was a “set-up”, the judge said.
Hertz had also relied on an overheard phone conversation when the man who hired the car returned it to the Derry Hertz office, he noted.
The hirer, Gareth Feeney, with addresses in Strabane, and Middlesex, England, rang the driver of the other car, Martin Lafferty (56), from Clady, Strabane, looking for details of Mr Lafferty’s car.
Hertz claimed he opened the conversation with “how’re ya Marty”. Mr Feeney was also sued, but did not defend the case.
Mr Justice Meenan said one would have thought, if the collision was a set-up, the information sought by Mr Feeney in the phone call would already have been firmly fixed in his mind prior to returning the hire car.
“This information would be an essential part of the whole operation.”Tags: