Body-building garda withdraws injury claims after weightlifting video shown in court

Weightlifting Garda

19 June 2022

This is the bodybuilding garda who withdrew two separate personal injury claims after video was played in the High Court showing her lifting weights exceeding 40kg.

Jessica Feeney withdrew the claims on the third day of her civil actions after Mr Justice Cian Ferritter noted his concerns relating to issues which arose out of cross-examination and said any adverse findings against the plaintiff may impact her career, given her line of work.

Feeney of Kilmore Road, Knocknaheeny, Co. Cork, issued two sets of High Court proceedings arising from two incidents in which she alleged to have suffered personal injuries in 2018 and 2019.

Ms Feeney sued Sean Barron of Adamstown, Co. Wexford, over an incident in April 2018 in which, while on patrol in her capacity as a garda, she was struck by the door of a passing horsebox he was towing.

When outlining the details of the accident to the court, her counsel noted his client was caused to suffer severe headaches and torticollis of the neck.

Following this incident, Ms Feeney brought another High Court Action against music and festival promoters MCD Productions after she was assaulted in Croke Park while attending a Westlife concert in July of 2019.

It was further put to the court that as a result of the unprovoked attack she required eight stitches to her ear, suffered bruising on different parts of her body where she was struck, and had clumps of hair torn from her head, which has not regrown and has left three separate bald patches she has to cover with hair extensions.

Ms Feeney alleged her injuries continue to cause her constant pain and suffering and have greatly impacted on her day-to-day life.

The court heard she has not returned to work or driven since the incidents and that she can no longer train in the gym to the level that she did previously in order to compete in bodybuilding competitions.

Under cross-examination by Counsel for MCD, Feeney was asked why she had not taken a civil action against the individual who assaulted her but instead chose to sue the promoters of the concert.

Ms Feeney said she had already received €3,000 in compensation from the assailant, Jackie Walsh of Clonard Park, Ballybeg, Co. Waterford, who in turn received a suspended sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment for causing the injuries.

Over the course of three days, Ms Feeney gave direct evidence of how she previously suffered from depression and anxiety and that due to these two incidents her condition had worsened and she would now avoid crowds and only go outside if in the company of a close friend or family member for security.

A solicitor, appearing on behalf of Sean Barron, questioned Ms Feeney on her hobby as a bodybuilder.

A number of videos and photographs taken from Ms Feeney’s social media accounts were submitted to the court, which showed the plaintiff socialising, travelling, and competing in bodybuilding competitions after she suffered her injuries.

Ms Feeney contended that the competitions in which she was taking part, and subsequently winning on a number of occasions, were more of a bikini modelling nature than bodybuilding and that no heavy training was required to take part, merely a lean physique.

The barrister enquired how it was possible for someone with the type of injuries that the plaintiff was complaining of could train in the gym at all, to which Ms Feeney replied that she was not lifting any heavy weights, only around 20kg total.

A video taken covertly of Ms Feeney training in the gym was then shown to the court, where weights exceeding 40kg were seen to be lifted by the plaintiff for a number of repetitions.

Shortly before lunch on the third day of the hearings, Mr Justice Ferriter noted his concern as to some of the issues which arose out of cross-examination and that any adverse findings against the plaintiff may impact her career, given her line of work.

Ms Feeney’s barrister later told the judge that the plaintiff was withdrawing both of her personal injuries actions and that no further order was required from the court.

Efforts to contact Ms Feeney for comment over the last week were unsuccessful.

When a reporter called to the court-listed address for Ms Feeney, a woman who identified herself as her mother said “she wouldn’t want to talk about any of that”.

When contacted, Ms Feeney’s solicitor said: “Your proposal to publish an article in the matter does not correctly reflect the true facts and is misleading.

“A very serious situation would arise and very serious consequences will flow, if the article you propose to publish, is published.”

In a subsequent email, the solicitor did not identify what, if any, aspects of the story he had identified as being misleading or untrue.

The solicitor said yesterday that for medical reasons he had been unable to take instructions from his client as of the time of going to print.

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