Truck driver withdraws compensation claim after judge warns about changing evidence

The Four Courts

28 November 2022

A truck driver who claimed he was injured in a road accident withdrew his action for damages after he was warned by a High Court judge about how he was changing evidence he was giving through an interpreter.

Roman Siry (39), who claimed he hurt his shoulder in the December 2018 accident which has restricted his ability to work, was being cross examined about a photo of him on a racing motorbike at Poznan Racecourse in 2019 and about a previous work accident for which he had received nearly a quarter of a million euros in compensation.

Mr Siry, who had lived in Ireland from 2007 until 2019, and now lives at Balun ul Wisniowa, Goleniow, Poland, sued Niamh Finn from Ballinadee, Bandon, Co Cork, after her car collided with his lorry at Horsehill, Bandon, on a dark December 6 morning, 2018.

The car was wrecked in the collision which broke the step at the driver’s door of the lorry. Not knowing the step was gone, Mr Siry fell on to the ground when he got out of the cab after the accident and claimed he hurt his shoulder.

Liability was admitted and the case was before Mr Justice Michael Hanna for assessment of damages.

Mr Siry gave direct evidence to his counsel Gerald Tynan SC, through a Polish interpreter, about how the accident happened.

However, when Edward Walsh SC, instructed by Declan O’Flaherty of Tormeys Solicitors, objected that the interpreter seemed to be giving evidence rather than translating, the case was adjourned and another interpreter was brought in.

Mr Walsh, in his cross examination through the second interpreter, asked Mr Siry why he never told the investigating garda who arrived at the accident that he had hurt his shoulder. Mr Siry said he was under severe stress at the time.

Mr Siry told counsel he took the rest of the day off but continued working for the next six months until he returned to Poland. He disagreed he had never told his then employers that he suffered an injury in the accident.

Asked about who arranged appointments with a neurologist, a psychologist, and an orthopaedic surgeon, he said some were by his lawyer and others by himself. He arranged other medical visits himself when he returned to Poland.

He agreed with counsel he would have been very familiar with arranging medical appointments because he had received €245,000 for a previous claim for a head injury in a work accident in 2010.

Asked had he made appointments on the basis that his ability to work was seriously compromised he replied: “The point I am trying to make is that because of the (2018) accident I am restricted in the things I am trying to do”.

There followed a number of exchanges between Mr Siry, Mr Walsh, and the judge about how many motorbikes he owned and when he used them. He agreed a photo Mr Walsh had was of him on a Suzuki motorbike at Poznan.

The judge told him “you are not doing yourself any good because I have to decide whether you are a reliable witness”.

The interpreter then said she was having difficulties interpreting and she agreed with Mr Walsh that Mr Siry was engaging in conversation with her and “trying to evaluate my interpretation”.

The judge told Mr Siry’s counsel he would adjourn briefly to give him an “opportunity to gather your skirts”.

Following the adjournment, Mr Tynan SC, for Mr Siry, said the case could be struck out.

The judge struck out the case and said the interpreter was to be commended for her efforts to assist the court.

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