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harsh words Van driver's child (12) was in vehicle while businesswoman Jackie Lavin swore after crash, court told

Dean Graham was awarded €25,000 damages and his daughter received €30,000

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Jackie Lavin

Jackie Lavin

Jackie Lavin

Business woman Jackie Lavin swore and used abusive language towards the driver of a van her car collided with in December 2015, the Circuit Civil Court heard today.

Judge Sarah Berkeley, after awarding van driver Dean Graham €25,000 damages for personal injuries suffered in the collision, said his six-year-old daughter, Alannah, a front seat passenger in her father’s van, had been exposed to the swearing incident.

Barrister Tracy Ennis Faherty, who appeared with Ger Colleran BL and Hussey Fraser Solicitors for the Grahams, told the court Alannah had injured her right knee and suffered psychological injuries as a result of the accident in which she had been thrown forward. She had afterwards suffered from anxiety.

Judge Berkeley awarded the now 12-year-old Alannah €30,000 damages after throwing out Lavin’s defence because she had failed to attend court to meet Mr Graham’s claims about the accident.

When the court was told that the 75-year-old Lavin was unable to attend because she was the sole carer for a family member, Judge Berkeley said the courts were now facilitating litigants in many ways, including taking evidence on commission, and her excuse just was not good enough.

The judge refused an adjournment application on behalf of Lavin, driver of a car owned by Warrior Actions Ltd which trades as Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin. She struck out defence documents entered by Lavin, Cullen and Warrior Actions.

“This is not good enough and unacceptable,” Judge Berkeley said. “Every day the courts do everything they can to facilitate people who cannot or don’t want to come to court.”

The court heard that Lavin, of Oberstown House, Naas, Co Kildare, was driving a car owned by Warrior Actions, Concorde Industrial Estate, Naas Road, Dublin, and was allegedly on its wrong side of the Old Naas Road as it pulled out to pass an oncoming vehicle and had been allegedly heading towards Graham’s van.

“I had to drive on to the footpath to avoid a head on collision,” Mr Graham, of Castlegrange Road, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, told the court. He agreed the wing mirrors of both vehicles collided.

He and his daughter had attended the accident and emergency department of Tallaght Hospital where Alannah’s leg had been put in a tubi-grip with a recommendation to take pain killers.

Mr Graham said he had injured his shoulder, neck and lower back in the accident and suffered symptoms for four years afterwards. He was now fully recovered. His daughter had sued Lavin, Cullen and Warrior Actions through her mother Charlene Gunning who gave evidence of the effects of the accident on her daughter.

Judge Berkeley said Alannah had been involved in a very nasty accident and had developed travel anxiety and other complaints that had affected her education and were ongoing. She had unfortunately, as a six-year-old, witnessed the swearing incident with her father immediately after the collision.

Ms Ennis Faherty applied for and was awarded costs in both cases against all of the defendants.

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