Woman pleads guilty over false personal injury claim

The Irish Examiner – 3 October 2016

Tracey O’Connell pleaded guilty to charges arising from a fraudulent claim that she had suffered a personal injury after slipping on the wet floor of the toilets of the Crescent Shopping Centre in Limerick last year.

She allegedly duped a solicitor to represent her in the claim after presenting him with the false medical report, Ennis District Court heard yesterday.

Garda Insp Tom Kennedy said Ms O’Connell of Cúl na Greine, Shannon had met Sixmilebridge-based solicitor James Shanahan in the foyer of the Oakwood Arms Hotel in Shannon on November 26 last to request him to represent her in a personal injury claim.

She presented Mr Shanahan with the false medical report which referred to a fall on September 22 last year. The solicitor agreed to represent her.

During the legal consultation, she gave Mr Shanahan a fraudulent medical report purported to come from a local GP Peter Flynn.

The medical report, the inspector said, was drawn up by Ms O’Connell in an attempt to substantiate her fraudulent claim.

Mr Shanahan contacted the GP over the report and Dr Flynn confirmed he had never made such a report.

The inspector said a garda investigation was mounted. Ms O’Connell appeared in court yesterday and pleaded guilty to three charges.

After hearing an outline of the facts, Judge Patrick Durcan said he would hear the case in the district court.

The accused pleaded guilty to dishonestly inducing James Shanahan to commence proceedings in claiming for personal injury with the intention of making a gain for herself. She also pleaded guilty to making a false medical report in relation to a personal injury claim with an intention it be used to induce another to accept it as genuine. The third charge is, at a place unknown, of making a false medical report.

Judge Durcan said he would order a probation report. Her solicitor Daragh Hassett said: “That will certainly help from what I know about the case.”

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