A lifeguard who was injured at a city pool lied about an earlier medical condition, exaggerated her symptoms and had little hope of substantial future earnings even before the accident. That was the conclusion of a scathing High Court judgment yesterday that awarded Chow Shuk-yan, 26, just HK$430,412 in damages, far less than the HK$13 million she initially claimed from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. The government agreed it should compensate Ms Chow for the accident in October 2002, but the two sides could not agree on a figure. Ms Chow, an aspiring pianist, hit her head after she fell from a makeshift lifeguard stool. She had since complained of tinnitus, headaches, dizziness and convulsions. But the woman exaggerated her symptoms and there was scant evidence she would lose future income as a top-shelf music instructor after the accident, Mr Justice Barnabas Fung Wah said. She 'could only be regarded an average music or piano teacher' given her poor exam results, the judge wrote in his 26-page ruling. 'Her grades in piano are bare passes and not in the league of performers,' he added. Ms Chow also concealed a pre-existing ear condition from doctors who examined her, the judge noted. 'The plaintiff had lied to the experts on a pre-existing ear injury and tinnitus' wrote Mr Justice Fung. 'Her lame explanation [that she did not consider it an injury] also shows that she is not a forthcoming and reliable witness. 'Given my view of her credibility and looking at the medical evidence, I do not accept that she could not hold on to a fixed job.'