A woman twice testified in court that she was injured in a car crash in Cork despite the fact that she was probably 100km away in Kerry at the relevant time and yesterday she was sentenced for perjury.
Remona O’Leary-Quilligan, of 35, Hazelwood Drive, Killarney, Co Kerry, gave evidence in Cork Circuit Court on October 12, 2011, that she was injured in a car crash in January 2009 involving her husband, from whom she since separated.
Judge Séan Ó Donnabháin dismissed that claim in 2011.
The dismissed case was appealed to the High Court where Mr Justice Eamon DeValera also dismissed the action in February 2012.
Questioned by gardaí in April 2014 about the evidence she had given in the two court cases, she made another false statement.
O’Leary-Quilligan pleaded guilty last week to committing perjury in both courts and making a false statement to gardaí about the evidence she had given.
Judge Donagh McDonagh said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday that the defendant may have been 60 or 70 miles away in Kerry at a time when the accident happened in Cork and that, wherever she was, she was not with her husband in the car involved in the minor accident in Cork in 2009.
“She has run a five, almost six-year, lie. I don’t understand, it makes no sense,” the judge said.
The judge referred to aggravating factors including the degree of planning and premeditation which he said could not have been greater.
Judge McDonagh said that, very late in the day, the accused had explained she attempted to defraud the state.
While Alliance Insurance never had to pay out to Remona O’Leary-Quilligan on her claim, they clocked up €33,000 in legal fees defending the case.
Paula McCarthy, defending, said the accused had gathered €4,500 for the insurance company and wanted to gather more as she wanted to avoid going to jail at all costs.
She had no previous convictions of any kind.
Ms McCarthy said the accused blamed nobody else and took full responsibility for the perjured evidence she had given.
Judge McDonagh suspended a two-year sentence on condition that the accused would pay the insurance company a further €100 per month for five years, which would amount to €6,000.
The judge said it would go some way to defraying the insurance company’s cost in the civil case.
He said that the costs bill to the insurers came out of the pockets of all motorists.