#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 24 November 2020

Man awarded €18k following car crash despite giving 'false and misleading evidence at every turn'

John McCormack (65) appeared on the Voice of Ireland and said he had ‘good and bad days’ with his injuries.


A SINGER/SONGWRITER who gave “false and misleading evidence and sought to mislead the medical profession almost at every turn” has been awarded €18,000 damages for injuries he suffered in a road traffic incident.

Circuit Court President, Justice Raymond Groarke, rejecting an application to throw out John McCormack’s personal injuries claim, felt he would be doing an injustice to McCormack because of a psychiatric history.

Tom Clarke, counsel for McCormack, said he had been injured when an unidentified driver had twice rammed his car in a double bid to pass him out at Greenfort Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin.

Clarke told the court it may have been McCormack’s psychiatric and depressive background that may have caused him to act as he did with doctors.

Barrister Frank Martin, counsel for the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland, told the Circuit Civil Court that McCormack of 70 Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 had actively appeared on a television talent show and performed at gigs in Dublin after having told doctors he had been “permanently crippled” in the car crash.

Martin told the Circuit Civil Court his claim for damages arising out of a road traffic incident on 2 May 2012 was McCormack’s “fourth visit to the well of compensation”.

Robert McQuillan, consultant in emergency medicine, said that when he examined McCormack at Blackrock Clinic he had put on “a performance” of jerky movements of a man in severe pain who had hobbled into his examination rooms leaning on a stick.

“He told me he was permanently crippled and that if he moved it would kill him and that his back was jammed,” McQuillan said.  “He moved slowly with a lot of grimacing and groaning.”

He said that later he had viewed footage of a video taken 45 minutes after McCormack had left his clinic by a private detective on behalf of the MIBI.  There was no resemblance to the man in the video, walking upright without a stick and bending over to get into his car and the man he had seen earlier in the Blackrock Clinic.

McQuillan told the court that McCormack had been “grossly inventive” of his condition.

Professor John P McIlwaine said he had examined McCormack on behalf of the Injuries Board and clinically it had not been possible to examine him.

“He wouldn’t get out of the wheelchair (he had been supplied with at reception) and said he was in so much pain he could not do anything,” McIlwaine said.

He said he had afterwards viewed a video of McCormack when he had taken part in RTE’s Voice of Ireland television show, following his complaints.

“He was holding the microphone in his right hand, able to walk around and hyper extend his leg. I didn’t get the impression he was in significant pain,” McIlwaine said.

‘Good days and bad days’

When questioned by Martin about his television appearance and videos of himself he had posted on YouTube, McCormack said he had good days and bad days and often felt much better after having applied a morphine patch.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

McCormack said his car had been hit twice in the ramming incident and had to be written off.  He said he had written more than 400 songs and had made an album following the accident.  He posted old singing videos of himself on YouTube.

He said his heroes were Elvis Presley and Englebert Humperdink and compared his musical recordings following the accident with David Bowie who, he said, had made his final album while suffering from cancer prior to his death.

Clarke submitted a psychiatric report on McCormack to the court and stated his condition may have contributed to the manner in which he had dealt with doctors during medical examinations.

Judge Groarke, awarding him €18,000 damages, said it was accepted he was involved in an accident in which he had been hit twice and the car had been written off.

He said the law did not require him to dismiss a case where there was exaggeration and misleading evidence if such a dismissal would result in an injustice being done. McCormack, whatever of his behaviour with doctors, had been injured and was entitled to be compensated.

Judge Groarke said McCormack had given false and misleading evidence and had sought to mislead the medical profession almost at every turn but felt it would be unreasonable and harsh on his part if in the circumstances he were to dismiss his case.

“I have to keep in mind that, despite McCormack having failed to attend doctors for little or no medical treatment, the court is dealing with someone who has a psychiatric condition.”

Read: Father-of-two’s car ‘exploded and spun ten feet in the air’ in crash with lorries >

Read: ‘It’s embarrassing’: LÉ Aisling sold by State for €110k – it’s now on the market for nearly €700k >

About the author:

Ray Managh

Read next: