MORE ON WITNESS CREDIBILITY: McIntyre & HENNESSY -v- THE HOME OFFICE
We have looked at issues of witness credibility many times before. It is often the key issue when a matter reaches trial. A graphic example of credibility issues can be found in the judgment of Mr Justice Mostyn in McIntyre & Hennessy -v- The Home Office  EWHC B13*
THE ISSUES: WERE THE CLAIMANTS INJURED?
Both claimants were passengers in a car driven by a fellow employee which reversed into a bollard. Both claimed to be injured. Medical evidence was obtained in support. The judge considered the evidence in detail:-
I also heard oral evidence from Colin Shields for the claimants, and from Jacqueline Woodhall for the defendant. She was at the time the Local Chief Immigration Officer and was a manager of three of the four occupants of the car. In addition I heard oral evidence from the claimant’s respective mothers in respect of an element of the claim for special damages.
Helen Wells, or their Line Manager, know if they were not okay. It is accepted that no member of the team replied to this e-mail. Specifically, it is accepted by the claimants that they did not report any injury.
16th October 2010, five days after she had signed a conditional fee agreement with her present solicitors and on the very same day that they had signified this claim in a letter before action. In my judgment that was no coincidence.
OK ASB. No NVD. Back NAD. Re-assured, C1/12 or SOS – physio.”
1st April this year, she was involved in a second accident which understandably caused a further flare up of her condition.” As I have said, Dr. Walker wrote this on the day of examination, namely, 16th June 2010. Just over two months later, on 27th August 2010, Paula McIntyre was examined bya Dr. Byrne in relation to the injuries suffered by her in the accident of1st April 2010, and for the purposes of another personal injury claim. In the report of Dr. Byrne it is stated, “Miss McIntyre admitted that she had been involved in a similar road traffic accident in October 2008 whilst a passenger in a car that reversed into a bollard. She informed me that she suffered with typical whiplash injuries affecting her neck and back in this accident, although she admitted that she had completely recovered from all injuries sustained in this earlier accident prior to her accident detailed for the benefit of this report.”
NO HALF MEASURES THERE
There are a few matters to note:
- The great emphasis put on contemporaneous accounts and records.
- The fact that medical evidence existed and there were complaints in the medical notes was not definitive.
- The contemporary photographs
- Inconsistent accounts by the witnesses
(A few people have observed that it is unusual to see a High Court Judge hearing this type of case. I have no idea how this came about).
* Thanks to my colleague Andrew Wilson who pointed out this case to me and also that it is available on Bailli.