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Violent thug’s €120K compo claim thrown out of court

Knife attacker faces €30,000 legal bill after failing to appear in court

Alan Sherry

A man jailed last year for a violent stab attack on a relative had two personal injury claims worth up to €120,000 dismissed this week and now faces a potential €30,000 bill after costs were awarded against him.

Michael Lawrence, (40) who has more than two dozen convictions for offences ranging from driving without insurance to assault causing harm, failed to show up at Dublin Circuit Court on Thursday where he was due to give evidence in two separate personal injury claims he had taken against South Dublin County Council.

Lawrence, Suncroft Drive, Tallaght, was seeking up to €60,000 for each of the incidents in which he claimed he sustained injuries when he tripped and fell on pavements in the Tallaght area within a three-week period in 2017.

However, Judge James O’Donoghue dismissed the father-of-five’s claims and awarded costs against him after he failed to attended court on Thursday.

His legal team said his absence was related to Covid-19 but stopped short of saying Lawrence himself had Covid.

Legal sources say he could now be hit with a bill of up to €30,000 when costs are added up.

Lawrence was jailed last year for a vicious stab attack on a close male relative, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in June 2020.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Lawrence drove to his relative’s estate and stabbed him four times in his upper arm after a dispute occurred the previous day during a game of cards.

The court heard his victim was in a car with his wife and six children when he saw the accused man driving into his estate.

Garda Bernard Briody said Lawrence got out of his car with a knife and ran over to his relative who was still inside his car and had his window down. Lawrence swung the knife at his brother six or seven times and stabbed him on several occasions.

Lawrence fled the scene and the victim was brought to hospital where his injuries were treated by a triage nurse. He was found to have four stab wounds to his upper right arm.

In interview with gardaí, Lawrence said he did not have any issues with other members of his family.

While he was seeking a pay-out for a fall from South Dublin County Council’s insurance company through his civil claim, he admitted to gardai that he had no motor insurance and had no driving licence when he carried out the attack.

He was sentenced to two years with 15 months suspended for the attack and disqualified from driving for three years.

Lawrence is not the only member of his family to be unsuccessful in a Circuit Court civil claim in recent years.

His brother Brian Lawrence and Brian’s wife Tina had two €60,000 claims relating to a car crash dismissed at the Circuit Court in 2018 after Tina was accused of repeatedly lying on the stand.

The court heard how serial litigant Tina had failed to disclose a litany of previous accidents for which she and her husband had taken claims.

Defence barrister Shane English put it to her: “Haven’t you lied through your teeth?”

She denied lying and said she couldn’t remember multiple claims she had taken. She was also accused of lying about receiving x-rays when medical records said she had none and also lying by not disclosing previous addresses at which she lived.

The court also heard that during a brief pause in proceedings she went outside and spoke to her husband despite being ordered by the judge not to do so.

Eventually Judge Patrick Quinn said he had enough and dismissed the case and awarded costs against Tina.

Brian was due to give evidence in his case after his wife testified but after hearing what happened when his wife gave evidence, he left the court and the judge heard the case was withdrawn.

The court heard that despite being unemployed Brian drove to court in a Mercedes which was only a few months old and had also written off an AMG Mercedes in the UK months earlier.

The court heard the couple were involved in a litany of accidents and there were numerous claim handlers from Axa, Allianz, Irish Public Bodies, and Liberty present in court who were willing to give evidence.

Mr English said a lot of the claims were similar in nature. He added there was a garda in court who would dispute whether Ms Lawrence was even in the vehicle which crashed.

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