Man facing legal costs bill after withdrawing High Court car crash claim

By Ann O'Loughlin

A father of two who claimed he had been injured when his car was rear-ended will now face a legal costs bill after he yesterday withdrew his High Court action.

The move comes after counsel for the Motor Insurer's Bureau of Ireland suggested to Saulius Smaleckas who is originally from Lithuania his case falls into a pattern where insurance companies have noticed policies are purchased for a small sum of money and an accident happens within a short period afterwards.

Saulius Smaleckas. Picture: CourtPix

Kieran Fleck SC asked the 42-year-old man if he was aware that insurance companies have detected a pattern in claims made against insurance companies where the insurance policy is purchased with a minimum premium payment and an accident occurs in a very short period of time and the policyholder then admits liability. Mr Smaleckas said he was not aware of it.

Counsel suggested his case falls into that pattern. Mr Fleck said the person Mr Smaleckas said was driving the other car - a Clare Hickey - can’t be traced.

Counsel also put to Mr Smaleckas the pattern is the same as in a number of Circuit Court cases involving others and a female driver and which were dismissed. Mr Smaleckas said he did not know.

Asked did he know that Ms Hickey can't be traced, Mr Smaleckas said he knew from his solicitor.

Saulius Smaleckas (42), Ashbrook Manor, Cavan, Co Cavan had sued the driver of the other car in the December 26, 2013 accident, Claire Hickey with an address at Rathgar Road , Rathmines, Co Dublin and James Kelly, Walkinstown Park, Walkinstown, Dublin who was the alleged owner of the car allegedly driven by Ms Hickey. A case has also been brought against The Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland as Ms Hickey the court heard has not been traced.

At the outset of the case Mr Justice David Keane was told that Ms Hickey had given her details to Mr Smaleckas at the time of the alleged accident. It was Mr Smaleckas' case that he understood Ms Hickey was insured

The claims were denied by the MIBI and Mr James Kelly who further said he had sold the car allegedly involved in the accident for €300 for parts to a man who represented himself as a car dealer. Mr Justice Keane was told the defendants further contended Mr Smaleckas' claim was fraudulent or set up.

In evidence Mr Smaleckas said he had been offered €80 by two Lithuanian men to bring them to Dublin Airport. He said he had met the men the night before. He told the court he was near the airport and was at a stop sign checking if it was safe to proceed when Ms Hickey’s car bumped into the back of his. She gave him a piece of paper with her phone number car registration and insurance policy number. Afterwards, he dropped the two men at the airport and drove back to Cavan.

He later went to hospital and the next day his GP and he had pain in his neck, back and knee. He said he was not able to work for four months. He said problems with his neck and back cleared up within weeks but he later had to have surgery on his knee. His car the court heard was a commercial write off.

Cross-examined by Kieran Fleck SC for the MIBI and Mr Kelly Mr Smaleckas said he did not see the two men he dropped at the airport again. He said one was called Mantas and the other Aurelius but he did not have their second names.

Mr Smaleckas who works as a sales assistant at Lidl said he also worked as a bouncer in a local nightclub and this is where he had met the two men. He agreed he was also involved in an auto parts company.

When the case resumed this afternoon, Mr Justice David Keane was told Mr Smaleckas was withdrawing his claim. Costs were awarded to the defendants.

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