A man has avoided a jail term for attempted fraud after he and his sister falsely claimed that an elderly motorist reversed into their vehicle.
Edward Maguire (45) of Cabra Park, Dublin 7 and Suzanne Maguire (37) of Sillogue, Ballymun, both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempting to induce Axa Insurance to pay out on the foot of a false claim with the intention of making a gain for themselves or causing a loss to another on September 22nd, 2017.
The alleged road traffic accident happened in a car park outside a convenience store on Glasnevin Avenue, in Dublin.
Garda Sean Burke told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, at a previous sentence hearing last February that Suzanne Maguire was sitting in her brother’s car when an elderly man hit a plastic bollard while he was reversing his vehicle out of a parking space.
Maguire got out of the car and approached the driver claiming that he had hit her brother’s vehicle and caused damage. She also claimed that she spilled hot coffee over herself as a result of the impact. She took a photograph of the man’s car and his insurance disc.
Edward Maguire later followed through on the allegation by attempting to lodge a claim with Axa Insurance. He also claimed that he was in the vehicle at the time and had pain in his shoulder, while his sister had blisters on her leg from the coffee having been spilled.
The insurance company investigated the claim and secured CCTV footage proving that there was no impact between the cars and that Edward Maguire was not in the vehicle at the time.
Axa didn’t process the claim and the gardaí were alerted. The pair were arrested and interviewed by gardaí.
Edward Maguire has 24 previous convictions including breach of a barring order, road traffic, larceny, trespass, theft and threats to kill. He has no previous convictions from the Circuit Court.
Suzanne Maguire has 59 previous convictions, including 33 for theft and others for public order, deception, handling, obstruction, failing to appear and assaults. She also has no previous convictions from the Circuit Court.
Suzanne Maguire’s case was adjourned to October 11, next, to allow her time to complete a drug rehabilitation course after it was accepted that she has been making progress with her addiction. She was remanded on continuing bail until that date.
Today Judge Pauline Codd said that Suzanne Maguire had initiated contact with the elderly motorist at the scene. She said she was only giving the woman an opportunity to continue addressing her drug addiction and said she was making “no guarantees”.
She sentenced Edward Maguire to two years in prison, which she suspended in full on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for two years.
Judge Codd said it was fortunate that the incident had been covered by CCTV footage. She accepted that the offence was opportunistic but said Edward Maguire had followed through on the claim before she described it as “a nasty offence on an elderly man”.
She said that the other driver had been put through a certain degree of stress and noted that Suzanne Maguire had taken a photograph of his car and insurance disc.
Judge Codd said Edward Maguire had been “happy to carry on the baton” and said he had “stuck to his story” during his interview with the gardaí.
She acknowledged that Axa did not process the claim and that the pair had not gained from it.
Judge Codd said she had taken into account Edward Maguire’s plea of guilty and the fact that the “entire plan had many holes it”.
She noted he was in collusion with his sister, that he has since made progress with his addiction issues, has a long-standing history of depression and has not come to garda attention since.