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Judge dismisses 'waste of time' injury claims backed by now struck-off Northern Ireland GP

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Four personal injury claimants - two of whom had medical reports written by a former Tyrone GAA doctor who has since been struck off - have had their cases dismissed

Four personal injury claimants - two of whom had medical reports written by a former Tyrone GAA doctor who has since been struck off - have had their cases dismissed

Four personal injury claimants - two of whom had medical reports written by a former Tyrone GAA doctor who has since been struck off - have had their cases dismissed

Four personal injury claimants - two of whom had medical reports written by a former Tyrone GAA doctor who has since been struck off - have had their cases dismissed.

The claimants, all from Dundalk, Co Louth, said they were injured in a rear-ending accident on February 1, 2015.

Judge Mary O'Malley Costello slammed the plaintiffs' cases as a "waste of everyone's time" after hearing inconsistent evidence and also queried why the claimants went to doctors who were not their own GPs.

The court heard the plaintiffs went to a solicitors' firm and two of them later attended a medical appointment with a Dr James Cassidy, also known as Seamus, who at the time was working as a GP in Dundalk. The two claimants - Celine Murphy and Ciara Toner - said they attended medical appointments with Mr Cassidy because they could not get an appointment with their own GP.

Mr Cassidy, a former doctor for the Tyrone senior Gaelic football team, was struck off the medical register by the High Court in 2018 over failing to comply with conditions attached to his registration, including completing an alcohol awareness programme.

The Dungannon doctor was also previously convicted at Newry Crown Court for two forgery offences. In June 2014 he was found guilty in Newry of conspiring with others to attempt to doctor the will of a woman who left £1.5m.

Catherine Haughey, who was a widow and childless, died in 2004 at the age of 81. Concerns about her will were raised shortly after her death.

Mr Cassidy received an 18-month prison sentence with three years suspended.

A subsequent Medical Council inquiry found the former GP guilty of two counts of professional misconduct after he failed to declare to the council in May 2009 that he had been convicted of drink-driving in Northern Ireland.

In Dundalk Circuit Court it was heard that Peter Corbett, Christine Bradley, Celine Murphy and Ciara Toner brought personal injury claims after they were rear-ended by a Mr Gerard Bradley, who was travelling with a number of other passengers.

The claimants said they were suffering from neck and shoulder pain.

Two of the claimants - Celine Murphy and Ciara Toner - attended medical appointments with Mr Cassidy to have medical and legal reports prepared for their personal injury cases.

The two other claimants - Peter Corbett and Christine Bradley - were referred by their solicitors firm, P Tiernan and Company, to a Dr Jeremy Johnson to have the same reports prepared.

A total of nine personal injury claims were pursued by people in both vehicles, with four being heard in Dundalk Circuit Court.

It transpired during cross-examination that some of the parties in the two vehicles were known to each another.

A number of previous accidents involving the claimants were also disclosed during cross-examination.

Three of the claimants involved could not describe the third-party vehicle, including the make, model or colour.

Judge O'Malley Costello said that never in all of her days as a judge or a practitioner had she seen such a collective set of amnesia.

She also noted how none of the claimants had attended appointments with their own GPs.

She dismissed all four claims and awarded costs to Aviva, which insured the defendant and which was represented by Ennis and Associates solicitors.

Rob Smyth, head of Aviva's investigations unit, said the company would take all necessary steps to recover its costs.

"This was a costly waste of money and resources. This could be avoided if all key stakeholders carried out some basic due diligence enquiries to help determine on the veracity of the information being supplied by the claimants," he added.

Belfast Telegraph