Jail-trauma family get €20,000
TWO children who were left traumatised after a violent fight broke out between prisoners as they visited their father in Mountjoy Prision have been awarded €10,000 damages each.
Judge Alison Lindsay said in the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin yesterday that the prison authorities ought to have had in place a system that would have prevented the fight spreading into the visiting box occupied by the children.
Judge Lindsay told barrister Conor Bowman, counsel for Michaela Perry (9) and her older brother Stephen (11), that she accepted they had suffered post-traumatic stress as a result of their experience.
Mr Bowman told the court the children had visited their father, Stephen Smith, in prison with their mother, Sharon Perry, on November 26, 2006, and had suffered psychological injuries as a result of what they had seen.
Ms Perry, of Shanganagh Cliffs, Shankill, Co Dublin, said she and her children had been talking to their father when a commotion had broken out in the visiting room next door and two prisoners then burst in to the room.
Both men, who were being chased by prison officers at the time, were fighting as they passed in what was described as "bloody horror scene". She said one of the prisoners was bleeding and she and the children, who were terrified and screaming, had pressed themselves back against the wall
Ms Perry disagreed with barrister Sasha Gayer, counsel for the governor of Mountjoy, that she was exaggerating about the incident which, according to CCTV, lasted only 11 seconds.
Mr Bowman said medical reports had been agreed between both parties, detailing nightmares, sleeplessness and anxiety symptoms which the children had suffered from following the incident.