Refuse collector ordered to pay insurers €107,343 over false declaration

He was accused of having coerced his son to claim that he had been behind the wheel at the time of the accident

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

The owner of a waste collection company has been ordered to refund thousands paid by an insurance company to an accident victim after it emerged that he had urged his son to falsely claim that he had been driving at the time of the accident. 

Bartholomeo Debono, the owner of R&R Waste Kleaners Ltd, was sued by Gasan Mamo Insurance Ltd after one of the company's trucks was involved in an accident in which a third party suffered grievous injuries.

The incident also initially led to Debono's son, Ronald being the subject of criminal proceedings, however the son was eventually acquitted after it emerged that his father had been at the wheel at the time of the accident. The two were also prosecuted for perjury.

The victim of the traffic accident later filed a civil case for damages against both father and son, as well as the waste removal company. In July 2007, the court upheld the claim for damages and awarded him €107,343 comprising expenses and interest.

The insurance company had, in turn, filed a civil lawsuit against Bartholmeo Debono, claiming that he had breached the insurance policy since he was not in possession of the driving licence necessary to handle refuse trucks.

The Civil Court, presided over by Justice Lawrence Mintoff, observed that Debono had tried to hide the fact that at the time of the accident he had been behind the wheel, urging his son, a fully-licenced truck driver, to take the blame, thereby giving false testimony in the proceedings.

This lie meant that the waste removal company would have avoided having to reimburse the insurance company the funds paid out to the victim of the accident.

The court ruled that Bartholomeo Debono had coerced his son into testifying to a falsehood, holding the man responsible for the accident and ordering him to reimburse Gasan Mamo Insurance the sum of €107,588 it had paid out by way of damages to the victim.

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