How much would you pay for a Lotto ticket that gave you a one in two chance to win €120,000? What if we changed the rules, and told you that you didn’t have to pay for your ticket, but you still had a 50:50 chance of winning? If you want to take a gamble on a few quid, the Irish courts are the place to go – and your Lotto ticket might even be free.
Tails you win
Last week, adding to an endless list of spurious insurance claims being made in our courts, a man lost his personal injury claim for €120,000 after being secretly photographed lugging suitcases on to a coach he drove while claiming he was unfit for work. The same man told the court he knew nothing about an incident allegedly involving his private car and from which six claims had arisen, two from occupants of his car and four from passengers in another car involved in the collision. Following ‘talks’ the man withdrew his claim. He didn’t have the winning ticket this time.
We don’t do perjury in Ireland
So this man could be charged with perjury? Eh no, because it is nigh on impossible to prosecute for perjury in Ireland. Believe it or not there is no prohibition on perjury on the statute books. As Carol Coulter wrote in the Irish Times some 14 years ago, “It is not unusual in court cases, both in the civil and the criminal courts, for the judge in summing up, to dismiss a person's evidence as lacking credibility. In some cases they go so far as to state that the witness, including sometimes a Garda witness, lied on oath. They have even added a recommendation that the matter be referred to the DPP. But that is usually the last heard of the matter.”
Lawyers may buy you the winning ticket
The Law Society of Ireland continues to run a high-profile advertising campaign advising that ‘your solicitor is in your corner’. Too true, especially if you want to play Courtroom Lotto. The Law Society says advertising a ‘no foal, no fee’ service is strictly against their rules. I typed the words ‘No foal, no fee’ into Google just now. Try it. Interesting results, aren’t they! Obviously the more tech savvy solicitors’ firms have worked out that by having those words on their website to explain the concept means those websites, miraculously, pop into prominence. The whole thing is a joke. Except it’s not. It hurts businesses. Badly.
Make it the law to have to tell the truth
For the umpteenth time, ISME is asking the government to make perjury a statute offence, and make the tendering of false claims a criminal offence. It’s the only way to stop this madness.