A 23-month-old boy, who had not been conceived when his little sister was killed in a hit-and-run in Dublin's Phoenix Park on 6 April 2015, has been awarded "grief money" for her death.
Marcel Siatka was born in May 2016, a year and 47 days after his sister Vanessa died in what a trial judge described as the worst case of dangerous driving he had ever heard of.
Barrister Conor Kearney, counsel for Marcel and Vanessa's father, Lukasz Siatka, told Judge Terence O'Sullivan in the Circuit Civil Court that the Injuries Board had assessed damages of €42,777 to be divided between Vanessa's surviving family and to include the cost of her funeral.
Mr Kearney said the Injuries Board had not considered compensation for Marcel in its assessment as he had not been born at the time of Vanessa's death.
Judge O'Sullivan heard that, under the provisions of the Civil Liability Act, Mr Siatka, from Blanchardstown, had taken a claim on behalf of members of his family, including Marcel.
Mr Kearney said the funeral, including a headstone, had cost €7,240 and the solatium, more commonly known as tear money, had been assessed at €14,500 each for Vanessa's father and mother, with €2,000 each for three grandparents. There were also other expenses.
He said it was for the court to approve the assessment and the parents had stated they had no difficulty for compensation, as decided by the court, being shared with Marcel.
Judge O'Sullivan said it was not a particularly nice exercise to have to divide money between members of the family, but he felt it would be appropriate to mark the fact that Marcel would undoubtedly make inquiries in the future about his sister and would experience grief for her loss.
He said the €6,000 allocated to Vanessa’s three grandparents should be reduced to €1,500 each to allow for Marcel receive €1,500 and he directed that Marcel's money be paid into court for his future benefit.
Ciaran Lane, of Ashington Avenue in Dublin, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing Vanessa's death.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison with the final two years suspended.
Vanessa, who was 23-months-old, was struck by the car being driven by Lane at a roundabout in the Phoenix Park.
She had been standing next to her mother’s parked car, when Lane hit her, before driving away.
He later presented himself to gardaí and his sentencing hearing heard that he had drank a litre of vodka and taken two grams of cocaine before taking to the road in his car with two friends that day.
Victims in hit-and-run cases are eligible for compensation through a special fund set up under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 called the "Solatium Fund".
A portion of the Gross Written Premium is contributed towards the fund every year by both public and private insurers.