Belfast Telegraph

Liar counts cost over false claim for pothole injury

By Alan Erwin

A man who claimed he broke an ankle by riding his bicycle into a pothole made up his account on the spur of the moment, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Stephens threw out Stephen McCook's damages case after finding that he lied and was prepared to exaggerate for financial gain.

McCook (22) sued the Department for Regional Development over an accident he said happened near his home in Dervock, Co Antrim, in March 2010.

He said he was approaching a junction between the Conogher Road and Knock Road when the front wheel of his bike went into a pothole.

According to his account, he ended up on the road, sustaining a fracture to his left ankle.

But the judge completely rejected his credibility after listening to him give evidence.

"I consider he was quite prepared to – and did – invent on the spur of the moment and knew he was doing so," Mr Justice Stephens said.

He described as "fantastical" and "just beggaring belief" claims by McCook that he subsequently took part in stock car racing on one occasion without testing his ankle.

"The plaintiff was quite prepared to lie, and lie on oath," he said.

Details of another road accident which resulted in McCook suffering a knee injury were also detailed.

The plaintiff stated that a motorbike he was riding had slipped on cattle markings, the court heard.

But Mr Justice Stephens pointed out that doctors were told he had been racing a Ford Fiesta car and braked too late.

"This also illustrates what I consider to be another untruth," he said. "In short, I reject the plaintiff's evidence.

"It was so replete with inaccuracies and what I consider untruthful evidence that I can place no reliance on his account of how the accident occurred."

Judgment was entered for the defendant road authority.

An order for costs was also made against McCook, who had obtained legal aid to bring the action.

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